Mexico is often unfairly painted with the label of “everything is dangerous”.
It often surprises many tourists to learn that there are many safe destinations that are visited annually without any problem.
However, there are still some places in Mexico that are quite dangerous to visit and that is what this article will focus on.
The most dangerous places in Mexico
In fact, this guide takes a look at some of the most dangerous cities in Mexico and seeks to explore why each city deserves its place on this list.
To gain confidence to travel to Mexico, the security situation in the country is also examined to see if it is improving or worsening.
Why are some parts of Mexico so dangerous?
First of all, it's important to note that in this particular article, when I refer to the word "dangerous" I'm actually talking about humans and not other hazards like rabid animals or any environmental hazards.
define the usualmexican stereotypesThat being said, the main reason some parts of Mexico are so dangerous is often because of drug trafficking. There are many cartels that operate throughout Mexico, but they tend to be concentrated in specific areas (generally where drug production or use is greatest).
Other reasons are that certain areas are poorer, more politically unstable, or just the general attitude of that particular place (for example, it is not tourist friendly or open to certain ethnic groups).
Is the security situation improving?
In general, things are slowly but surely improving. Mexico has always been a very popular tourist destination, and as such, the government takes steps to keep public safety as high as possible.
Of course, while many areas are becoming increasingly secure (such as Chiapas and Mexico City), there are areas where such efforts have yet to bear fruit.
I'll take a look at some of them below, as these areas still have a long way to go before we can consider them "tourist" destinations.
The 10 most dangerous places in Mexico
Now let's explore the 10 most dangerous places in Mexico. This article uses data collected byfall sleepto compare each location and use different stats like crime and theft to get a clearer picture.
For reference, 100 is the most dangerous, while 0 is the safest.
To provide a familiar comparison to the places mentioned later in this article, note that New York City scored 49.02 on the Numbeo Crime Index.
A privileged place for beach vacations, this popular coastal town is located in the north of the state of Sinaloa.
Unfortunately, many parts of the city remain unsafe due to the large presence of drug cartels (Sinaloa is the epicenter of this trade in Mexico).
Despite this, the local government and police have done a great job clearing this up, as the statistics below demonstrate. Mazatlán scored 43.48 on the Numbeo crime index.
Facts about crime in Mazatlán:
|crime levels||50,00 / 100|
|robo||59,85 / 100|
|Assault/Violent Crime||44,85 / 100||Crime has increased in the last 3 years||45,45 / 100|
Cancun is one of the most popular places in Mexico, located in the state of Quintana Roo. It is quite dangerous in certain areas (although far from the touristy and tourist areas of the city).
Most of the violence in Cancun comes from drug-related activities and from anyone willing to get involved (for example, anyone buying drugs). Cancun scored 56.25 on the Numbeo crime index.
Facts of the crime in Cancun:
|crime levels||61,08 / 100|
|Assault/Violent Crime||57,93 / 100||Crime has increased in the last 3 years||74,05 / 100|
8. Chihuahua City
Chihuahua is one of the largest cities in northern Mexico and a popular destination due to its proximity to the Copper Canyon.
However, this city is dangerous as it is known for cartel-related violence as well as kidnappings (again, these are mostly factional and not aimed at the general population). Chihuahua City scored 56.25 on the Numbeo Crime Index.
Data on crime in the city of Chihuahua:
|crime levels||68,55 / 100|
|Assault/Violent Crime||63,71/100||Crime has increased in the last 3 years||65,62/100|
7. City of Victoria
Now for a lesser known city. Ciudad Victoria is located in the north of the state of Tamaulipas, which borders the Gulf of Mexico.
Ciudad Victoria earned its place on this list due to its problems with drug trafficking and cartel shootouts. A lot of that is also due to violence, which also happens in prisons, just to clarify. Ciudad Victoria scored 62.44 on the Numbeo crime index.
Criminal data in Ciudad Victoria:
|crime levels||71,15 / 100|
|Assault/Violent Crime||67,31/100||Crime has increased in the last 3 years||61,54/100|
Next up is Acapulco, a coastal city in the state of Guerrero. It is a popular tourist city for travelers to the Pacific coast, which also has a notorious nightlife.
Acapulco is dangerous because some cartels operate in the area and robberies and violent crime are also more common (especially in the city center). Acapulco scored 63.01 on the Numbeo crime index.
Facts of the crime in Acapulco:
|crime levels||80,56 / 100|
|Assault/Violent Crime||72,37/100||Crime has increased in the last 3 years||60,53/100|
5. Ciudad Juárez
Now we have another notorious city that tends to make international headlines. Located in the state of Chihuahua, Ciudad Juárez is another major border crossing into the United States.
Most of the violence here is related to drug production and smuggling. Ciudad Juárez scored 68.48 on the Numbeo crime index.
Facts about crime in Ciudad Juárez:
|robo||71,20 / 100|
|Assault/Violent Crime||73,96 / 100||Crime has increased in the last 3 years||56,38/100|
4. Mexico City
The capital of Mexico is very diverse. There are many parts that are safe and popular for tourism, but there are also many neighborhoods that are not safe to visit.
Most of the violence here stems from robberies or muggings. Mexico City scored 68.52 on the Numbeo crime index.
Facts about crime in Mexico City:
|robo||74,07 / 100|
|Assault/Violent Crime||79,66/100||Crime has increased in the last 3 years||79,16/100|
Now it's up to Culiacán, the most notorious city in Mexico for the presence of drug cartels. It is located in the north of the state of Sinaloa.
While most of the violence here takes place between cartel members and the police (who are constantly at odds), the violence can sometimes be directed at civilians as well. Culiacán obtained a score of 70.18 in the Numbeo crime index.
Facts of the crime in Culiacán:
|crime levels||83,65 / 100|
|Assault/Violent Crime||78,85 / 100||Crime has increased in the last 3 years||76,92 / 100|
Next up is Tijuana, a popular vacation destination you've probably heard of. Located on the border with the United States, in the state of Baja California, it is one of the most important border crossings for the United States.
This city is known for its drug trade and the resulting crimes. Despite this, Tijuana remains one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico. Tijuana scored 70.92 on the Numbeo Crime Index.
Tijuana Crime Facts:
|crime levels||81,58 / 100|
|Assault/Violent Crime||76,30 / 100||Crime has increased in the last 3 years||74,81/100|
Another lesser known city on our list, Celaya is now officially recognized as the most dangerous city in Mexico and one of the most dangerous cities in the world. Located in the normally safe state of Guanajuato, the high level of violence here is due to the presence of the Santa Rosa de Lima cartel.
Since 2020, there have been numerous shootouts between them and local police as the government tries to curb drug trafficking. Celaya scored 81.98 on the Numbeo crime rate.
Crime data in Celaya:
|crime levels||91,36 / 100|
|Assault/Violent Crime||88,89/100||Crime has increased in the last 3 years||90,91 / 100|
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Frequently Asked Questions about Dangerous Zones in Mexico
Check these frequently asked questions about dangerous cities in Mexico:
What is the most violent state in Mexico?
Baja California usually tops the list, but due to the ongoing violence in Celaya, Guanajuato currently ranks as the most violent state in Mexico.
Is Tijuana the most dangerous city in the world?
Yes. As of April 2022, Tijuana currently ranks as the most dangerous city in the world, with 138 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. You can read more about it.Safety in Tijuanain this blog
How dangerous is Mexico now?
As of 2022, it is safe to visit Mexico as a whole, especially in popular tourist areas such as the Riviera Maya, Oaxaca, and Jalisco.
Where is the biggest crime in Mexico?
Most crimes occur in states where there is a large presence of drug cartels. This includes (but is not limited to) the states of Baja California, Tamaulipas, Sinaloa, and Chihuahua.
The most dangerous places in Mexico
And that's it for our guide to the most dangerous places in Mexico.
In general, Mexico is becoming a much safer destination for tourists. That being said, of course, there are still plenty of places that are completely off-limits for reasons ranging from drug cartels to high levels of theft or violence.
This guide takes a look at some of the most dangerous places in Mexico and explains why they rank so highly. He also analyzed whether or not the security situation in Mexico is improving for you to decide.
Are you planning a trip or thinking of going to Mexico soon? Consult this complete guidesafe cities in mexicoWhat can you visit.
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