You may have heard that Merida, Yucatan, Mexico is the second safest in North America. Second in safety to only Quebec, Canada. For a quick review, North America includes Canada, The United States of America, and the United Mexican States. Wait a minute! Are you saying Merida is safer than all the cities in the good ole US of A? Yep! I'll give you a minute to let that marinate for a minute.
Now let me say that being the 2nd safest city in Noth America doesn't mean that crime does not exist. It means that crime happens far less than in other places. This place seems like a major city with Mayberry type of problems in contrast to a city like Atlanta, where on the evening news it is 25 minutes of mayhem and 3 minutes of traffic, and 2 minutes of weather.
Now many people move to Merida, Mexico, because of the safety of the city. But why is Merida is so safe, really? Today, I will try to articulate my theories of why I feel Merida is the safest city I've ever lived in. I will also tell you several situations where I've experienced security issues or know someone that has.
Theory Number 1: The police presence in Merida is real and visible. They ride on the streets with their lights on to announce that they are around. The Police are very proactive and routinely patrol areas of a neighborhood that they are assigned. It is not uncommon to see a police officer drive by multiple times a day in my neighborhood. Secondly, the police are very professional here and are paid higher than the national average. This means they are less likely to participate in corrupt activities than in other places in LTAM. They also have a very well-respected leader who has a national reputation for being one of Mexico's best.
Quick story about my most recent encounter with the police. I had a person trespassing inside my inner security wall recently. I give the full details in the blog post "We Have A Suspicious Hunger, and We Need The Police." I will tell you that the police response was fast and prolific. 5 police cars showed up to investigate my call to the police on the non-emergency line. I was very satisfied with the response, the investigation, and the professionalism of the police. It was definitely a very positive experience.
Theory Number 2: The Surveillance cameras in Merida. Surveillance cameras are everywhere in Merida. On any given street intersection, it is not uncommon to see cameras pointed in every direction. At the end of 2019, the State established a new tax for homeowners to fund even more cameras throughout the city. This is, on personal observation, one of the most connected and monitored cities in the world. The surveillance in Merida has been responsible for capturing many thieves quickly. When you read about the robbery of a business or any major crime, you typically read about the use of surveillance cameras working in conjunction with the police to capture the perpetrators.
Funny story, my Dad and my Brother in Christ were standing outside of my previous house with about 6 backpacks on their shoulders around Christmas time in 2019. They were outside waiting on the uber to go back to the hotel with our kids' backpacks because they were with me and left them at the house. While waiting outside, the police swooped in and from multiple directions and questioned them about the bags and where they were going. My brother, who is fluent in Spanish and a lawyer, explained the situation, and they went on their way. But the police said they responded because they saw them in the area with all those bags on the security cameras. Point to note that my brother said the police were very professional but made it clear they were investigating the situation.
Theory number 3: The people demand and value security. This is a little harder to prove, but I get a sense the Yucateco people are proud that they are the safest place to live in Mexico. Typically when you first met a Yucateco, one of the first things they will tell you is La Ciudad es mas Tranquilo. The city is very safe. This has been repeated to me countless times in ubers and restaurants. Also, if you look at the video of the Top 3 Unusual things I love about the Yucatan, I talk about the honesty of the people. I feel that they want to make sure that the reputation of security is in place, which trickles down to the conduct and pride of everyday citizens. Just this week my sister left a very nice leather bag at the airport. We went back the next day, and not only was the bag returned, but it was returned with everything in it.
So the crime I've heard about having all been crimes of opportunity. I know a Mexican lady who had her purse stolen at the giant market in Centro. She was essentially mugged. The person took her purse and disappeared into the many rows of shops. Secondly, I know someone whose car was vandalized by a crazy angry neighbor. Most of the things I see and read are being defrauded of money that they paid for goods or services in advance, online. And my personal experience here was with someone who was looking for an opportunity to steal something.
I want to end this on a positive note and say that I feel totally safe in Merida, Mexico. I feel confident in the police response when it comes to crime. Furthermore, I feel that you need to be aware of your surroundings anywhere you go and not leave things easily accessible for thieves to take advantage of the opportunity. Don't be the come up as we would say in Atlanta.
For those visual folks,