The Contrarian Traveler, Peter Greenberg, who writes about business travel for BNet, criticizes the Texas Department of Public Safety in a recent column for issuing a press release warning people to avoid Mexico over spring break. Greenberg found the warning unfounded and misleading, as well as a bit fear-mongering. Texas DPS Director Steven C. McCraw was quoted as saying, “avoid traveling to Mexico during Spring Break and stay alive.”
Acknowledging that official statements like that carry weight for both business and leisure travelers, Greenberg, who was traveling in Mexico during the time the statement was issued, felt it was irresponsible. Citing his own trip which stretched from Oaxaca to Chihuahua to Mexico City and encountered zero problems, he relays the fact that business travelers he found in Mexico were not worried about safety issues. Because business travelers tend to be more savvy and streetwise travelers than vacationing tourists, they also tend to exercise more common sense regarding travel conditions.
Greenberg points out that the often used statistic that 64 Americans died in Mexico last year does not specify the cause of deaths and thus, is a misleading statistic. He presents some facts to contextualize the worry those statistics seem to generate.
- An overwhelming majority of the crime is in the northern part of the country.
- The distance between Tijuana and Cancun almost matches the distance between Los Angeles and New York.
- An overwhelming majority of the crime is drug related, and it is generally cartel versus cartel. Americans aren’t targeted.
Greenberg’s article is extremely well reasoned and written from a wealth of travel experience; you can read it in full here.