Harvard University


Risk Ratings  

    HIGH TRAVEL RISK for Baja California, Chihuahua, Colima, Guanajuato, Guerrero, Jalisco, Mexico, Michoacán, Morelos, Sinaloa, Tabasco, Tamaulipas, Veracruz states

Risk Summary

The main risk to foreign business visitors is posed by violent and opportunistic crime. Crime rates are generally higher in major urban areas. Many cities have distinct areas where organised criminal groups with links to drug cartels operate. While travellers are generally not targeted by drug cartels, they face serious risks from collateral violence during clashes between opposing cartel members, or between criminals and the security forces.

In response to the growing violence perpetrated by drug cartels, then-president Felipe Calderon (2006-12) deployed the military to confront the issue in 2006. Due to high levels of corruption in the police force, the newly reformed Federal Police also became a key element in the fight against drug cartels. These initiatives have failed to curb the violence, and drug trade-related murders have increased significantly since then. Several regions in Mexico, especially along the northern border region, have become extremely violent. Violent cartel-related crime has also risen along the central-west coastline.

While foreign travellers face a credible risk of abduction due to their perceived wealth, they are rarely targeted in such crimes. However, short-duration 'express' kidnappings pose a risk to both foreigners and wealthy locals. Travellers may also be targeted in a ‘virtual' kidnapping, which typically involves a call to a victim who is threatened and extorted for payment using deception and personal information. These incidents are most common in HIGH risk areas and some major urban centres.

In addition, insurgent groups motivated by economic and social issues are present in some southern areas. However, they have mostly targeted police and army outposts in rural areas, and have been largely dormant in recent years. Small bombings have occasionally targeted foreign banking institutions and US-owned businesses in the capital Mexico City, though these rarely cause injury or significant damage and appear to be staged primarily for symbolic value.

This information is intended as a summary of the travel security environment; however, the risks can change at short notice during a crisis or evolving situation. Please check our travel security alerts to ensure you are informed of the most recent developments.


Vaccinations For Mexico
Hepatitis ARecommended for all travellers and expatriates,
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Hepatitis BRecommended for most travellers and expatriates,
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Typhoid feverRecommended for adventurous and long-term
Read more
Routine Vaccinations

Disclaimer  Privacy

Travel security advice provided in this report represents the best judgment of AEA International Holdings Pte. Ltd. and Control Risks Group Holdings Ltd. Medical and health advice provided in this report represents the best judgment of AEA International Holdings Pte. Ltd. Advice in this report does not however provide a warranty of future results nor a guarantee against risk.

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