The headlines of the last 10 to 15 years regarding shootings and beheadings in Mexico make it difficult for people in the U.S. to understand how their fellow countrymen could live there. The answer, as always, is complicated.
As an example, the murder rate in Washington D.C. is nearly four times higher than Mexico City. Washington had a murder rate was 31.4 per 100,000 people in 2008 while Mexico City’s rate in 2009 was 8 per 100,000 people. However, the country of Mexico at large had a murder rate in 2009 that was nearly twice that of the United States. Apparently, most of the murders are concentrated in 9 of the 31 states in Mexico. These states are located along the border where the smuggling of narcotics is greatest.
American Expatriates explain that living in Americanized communities in and around Mexico City is not so different than living in the states. The concern about personal safety is about the same. Adding to the perception of safety is the fact that more Mexicans speak English than ever before simply because it is taught in school and more Mexicans are attending school than ever before.
Killings are of course the most serious issue regarding crime. Rapes, muggings, robberies and other such crimes may be greater or lesser in Mexico City than in similar cities in the U.S. as there are no figures available to compare directly against one other.
Over time, Americans living in Mexico City should be able to learn the places to go as well as to stay away from; the safest times to travel and the best methods of transportation to get in and out.
And of course, the best protection is always to learn the language, blend into the general population in regards to dress and grooming style and maintain a low profile.
Adapting to this way of life may not appeal to everyone, but to those who have a real desire to live in Mexico; it is a small enough price to pay.