Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Security in Mexico

Questions about security have become the number one issue for those asking how we are here, and particularly for those of you who may be thinking about visiting us for a period of time, whether that be as part of a church group or an internship experience.

I want to be as honest as I know how to be here, because there's maybe always a tendency for those of us who work in Mexico (or any other country for that matter) to underestimate the dangers so as not to discourage anyone from coming or committing to ministry here.

There is a ton of information on the Internet, some of it helpful, much of it not very. Here are a few links to info that is fairly recent (less than a year old) and fairly analytic in nature.

Click HERE for an article from Foreign Policy.

Click HERE for an article in The Economist, written by a Canadian on Mexico City. In this article the author mentioned that statistics are driven up by crime centered in northern Mexico.

Finally, an article by an author I very much respect, Andrés Oppenheimer, on Mexico's security situation. Click HERE. Oppenheimer mentioned that although generally there is less violent crime in the U.S. than in Mexico, if you live in Washington D.C. or New Orleans, Mexico is much safer! He also points out that violence tends to be isolated here.

OK, what would my personal comments be, having lived in Mexico for the last 18 years.

1. Mexico City and other large cities in Mexico, like any large metropolitan area, have good neighborhoods and bad. Generally speaking, the poorer and older a neighborhood is, the greater chance of crime and other delinquent behavior. Common sense in making ourselves a "harder target" is increasingly important

2. Right now, border trips into Mexico should be avoided. Almost all the articles I have read emphasize that the violence tends to be limited (and often quite intense) to the northern border states. Violence has become more and more common as far south as Monterrey.

3. Violence is a symptom of a greater problem...godlessness. The situation in Mexico should inspire us as Christians to put an even greater emphasis in reaching this colorful and needy country!

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