Posts Tagged statistics

Lonely Planet’s U.S. Travel Editor Encourages Travel to Mexico

23 March 2013

Lonely Planet’s U.S. Travel Editor Robert Reid gets asked frequently if it’s safe to travel to Mexico, and his answer has always been, “If you’re thoughtful about where you go, the answer is yes.”  Reid says that perhaps a better question is, “Do you think it’s safe to go to Texas?”

Mexico, a country that is roughly the size of the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy combined, has been singled out in the mainstream media, especially when compared to other popular tourist destinations which have far higher homicide rates like the Bahamas, Belize and Jamaica (36, 42, and 52 homicides per 100,000 people, respectively).

While Mexico tourism is finally starting to bounce back with Canadians and Brits, Americans remain reluctant to return.  Even though U.S. violent crime statistics suggest that Americans are more likely to encounter violence at home, especially if you look specifically at Mexico’s most popular tourist destinations.  For example, Disney World’s Orlando saw 7.5 murders per 100,000 residents in 2010, which is higher than popular Mexican destinations Cancun (1.83) or Puerto Vallarta (5.9).

Reid asks American tourists to consider 5 things, before forming an opinion on Mexico.

  1. Mexico may be more dangerous than the U.S. overall, but not for Americans.  4.8 per 100,000 Americans were murdered in the U.S. in 2010, while only 2.1 of 100,000 visitors (who may or may not have been connected to drug trafficking) were murdered in Mexico.
  2. Texans are twice as safe in Mexico than in Texas, and three times safer than in Houston.
  3. Texans aren’t the only state citizens that are safer in Mexico than their home state (yes, New Orlean’s homicide rate is triple that of Mexico’s national homicide rate).
  4. The vast majority of Mexico is not on the U.S. State Department’s travel warning.
  5. President Obama’s daughter Malia went to Oaxaca for her spring break, despite Texas’s alarmist travel warning.

Mexico offers some of the greatest travel experiences in the world, and as the U.S. State Department says, “millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year.”  If you can go to Texas, New Orleans, Orlando or the Bahamas, you can certainly go to Mexico.

Read the full article here.

The Media’s Myopia with Mexico

9 August 2012

Another popular travel blogger comes to the defense of Mexico.  Terry from Travel by Terry writes a compelling case about the mainstream media’s continued “myopia” in regard to Mexico and its negative perceptions – he says,

“The media’s image of Mexico is blurred precisely because their focus is on one relatively small, admittedly ugly reality and thus falls woefully short of the retina of responsible reportage.”

Terry cites 3 practical metrics for determining the true state of travel safety in Mexico: geography, statistics, and his own personal experience.

Geography: Terry makes the point that Mexico is roughly the size of Western Europe, and of Mexico’s 2,500 municipalities, only 18 have been deemed a security problem.  His provided map illustrates the large distances between problem areas, and some of Mexico’s most popular travel destinations.

Statistics: He backs up his geography lesson with statistics that demonstrate Mexico’s continuing popularity throughout the world as a tourist destination, noting that most popular tourist destinations have no travel advisory at all, including Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya and Tulum, the Riviera Nayarit, Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Vallarta, Guadalajara and San Miguel de Allende, Leon and Mexico City.

Experience:  Terry concludes the passionate post by citing his own personal experience from 25 years of travel in Mexico, and never once having had a negative experience.

To read the full article, go here.

FBI Crime Statistics Show Americans are Safer in Mexico than Many Parts of the U.S.

3 May 2012

Lonely Planet’s New York-based U.S. Travel Editor Robert Reid, who has been traveling to Mexico since he was a child, adds to the chorus of travel writers and reporters who consider the warnings against travel to Mexico to be out of context.  While citing that the drug violence in Mexico should be taken seriously, he also asks travelers to be sensible and consider the facts.

He writes:

“What you don’t get from most reports in the US is statistical evidence that Americans are less likely to face violence on average in Mexico than at home, particularly when you zero in on Mexico’s most popular travel destinations. For example, the gateway to Disney World, Orlando, saw 7.5 murders per 100,000 residents in 2010 per the FBI; this is higher than Cancun or Puerto Vallarta, with rates of 1.83 and 5.9 respectively…Yet in March, the Texas Department of Public Safety advised against ‘spring break’ travel anywhere in Mexico, a country the size of the UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy combined. Never mind that popular destinations like the Bahamas, Belize and Jamaica have far higher homicide rates …why the singular focus?”

His article goes on to put things in context, stating that Mexico is less dangerous for Americans overall, than…well, America.  According to Reid and FBI crime statistics, Mexico is twice as safe for Texans, than Texas (and three times safer than Houston).  He also points out that most parts of Mexico are not included on the U.S. Travel Advisory for Mexico.

To read the full article, go here.

Investigation shows U.S. – Mexico Border is Safer than Critics Say

18 July 2011

Despite the bloody picture that many U.S. politicians have painted – a USA Today special analysis found that rates of violent crime along the U.S.-Mexico border have been falling for years, even prior to the U.S. security buildup.  It looks like those famous quotes from U.S. politicians, such as Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s warning that human skulls were rolling through her state’s deserts, and Rep. John Culberson’s (R-Texas,) claim that violence on the U.S. side of the border was “out of control” run counter to police reports and violent crime statistics.

In fact, the USA Today analysis found that U.S. border cities are statistically safer on average than other cities in their states, and that murder, robbery and kidnapping rates were all on the decline. The analysis drew from more than 10 years of detailed crime data reported by more than 1,600 local law enforcement agencies in four states, as well as federal crime statistics and interviews along the border from California to Texas.

As USA Today points out, the appearance of an out-of-control border region continues to have  wide-ranging effects including:

Stalling efforts to pass a national immigration reform law, fueling stringent anti-immigration laws in Arizona and elsewhere, and increasing the amount of federal tax dollars going to build more fencing and add security personnel along the southwestern border.

San Diego City Councilman David Alvarez said some of the money going to border security should instead be going to expanding the existing ports of entry and adding new ones to allow the state’s already-hurting economy a chance to recover. But, he said, the image of a lawless border makes it impossible to even discuss the topic.

“When you’ve got the national rhetoric about illegal immigration, you can never get to a conversation about legal immigration,” Alvarez said. “Effective border crossings and better regional economics don’t sell newspapers.”

To read the full article, go here.

In Perspective: Safety in the U.S. Versus Mexico

31 May 2011

There’s been a lot of news coverage about violence in Mexico, very little of it bothering to note that Mexico is a huge country with thirty-some states and that a) almost all of that violence is narco-related and b) you can count the number of tourists affected on one hand.

Here is another interesting article that provides needed context to violence statistics in Mexico, as well as compares safety statistics between Mexico and the U.S.  The official number of 111 U.S. citizens who were killed in Mexico last year may seem scary at first, but this was out of the almost 8 million U.S. citizens who visited Mexico last year.  In comparison, Boston, Las Vegas and Orlando also had 111 murders last year, and almost 1,000 U.S. citizens were killed in Puerto Rico (a country that gets far less press).  The statistic becomes eve more grounded once other facts are presented, namely, that a third of those 111 murders happened in just 2 cities and almost all of them were involved “in illicit vocations, usually the trafficking of guns, drugs, or people across the border.”

For more reasoning and statistics, read the full article here.

Violence Figures in Mexico Compared to Other Countries

1 April 2011

The Catalist’s statistics-driven analysis of violence in Mexico provides a more accurate assessment of Mexico than many of the sensationalistic and non-contextualized news reports.  A website created to “empower the Mexican-American relationship,” the Catalist used international indicators for measuring violence in a country – the number of violent deaths per 100,000 people – to compare figures of Mexican violence with those of other Latin American countries and U.S. cities.

They found that, in fact, Mexico is one of the safest countries in Latin America, having lower numbers of violent deaths than popular Latin American destinations like Argentina, Brazil, and Venezuela.  In comparing Mexico City to other U.S. cities, Mexico City came out on top in terms of safety.  With 9.8 violent deaths per 100,000 people, Mexico City had fewer deaths than U.S. cities like Houston (12.5), Phoenix (12.6), and Los Angeles (17.1).  While troubled Mexican cities like Ciudad Juarez have much higher violence statistics, they also account for most of Mexico’s violent deaths.

These figures not only help put reports of Mexico’s violence in context, but also paint a picture of what is true in many countries.  Some parts of countries can be more dangerous than others, and should be avoided.  Mexico as a whole is not plagued by violence, but travelers should be aware of dangerous cities to avoid.  Just as people in the U.S. might encourage travelers to take advantage of Chicago, while avoiding Detroit – people in Mexico would encourage tourists to experience Mexico City, while steering clear of Ciudad Juarez.  The article also acknowledges that sensationalistic news reports that don’t provide the whole picture unfairly hurt the cities and communities of Mexico that are safe, by driving away tourism and investment.

Read the full article here.