Political Risk Latin America Blog @PolRiskLatam

Amid drug war, Mexico less deadly than decade ago

Posted in News and Articles, Political Risk by politicalrisklatam on February 8, 2010

by Alexandra Olson, for The Washington Post, February 8, 2010.

Mexico City — Decapitated bodies dumped on the streets, drug-war shootings and regular attacks on police have obscured a significant fact: A falling homicide rate means people in Mexico are less likely to die violently now than they were more than a decade ago.

It also means tourists as well as locals may be safer than many believe.

Mexico City’s homicide rate today is about on par with Los Angeles and is less than a third of that for Washington, D.C.

Yet many Americans are leery of visiting Mexico at all. Drug violence and the swine flu outbreak contributed to a 12.5 percent decline in air travel to Mexico by U.S. citizens in 2009, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce, a blow to Mexico’s third-largest source of foreign income.

Mexico, Colombia and Haiti are the only countries in the hemisphere subject to a U.S. government advisory warning travelers about violence, even though homicide rates in many Latin American countries are far higher.

“What we hear is, ‘Oh the drug war! The dead people on the streets, and the policeman losing his head,'” said Tobias Schluter, 34, a civil engineer from Berlin having a beer at a cafe behind Mexico City’s 16th-century cathedral. “But we don’t see it. We haven’t heard a gunshot or anything.”…(continue reading)

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