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How Expats Can Stay Safe in Mexico

Street in Puerto Vallarta
Credit: Harriet Murray

No matter where you live in the world, personal security should be on your mind these days. No, you shouldn’t be paranoid, but as they say, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” That’s why we asked our friends at  HX Security Group in Mexico City to tell us how expats can stay safe in Mexico.

Here are their top 10 personal security tips for expats:

1. Live in a gated community

There are very few major crimes perpetrated in gated communities. It’s also virtually impossible to pull up a truck and completely rob a home of all its belongings, which is a common theft practice in Mexico.

2. Install motion detector lights

Lights have a tremendous deterrent effect. Motion detector lights have a surprise effect. Use large wattage lights or halogen bulbs and locate the lights in the yard around the perimeter of the property.

3. Wall or gate perimeter

The height should not attract attention nor be much larger than your neighbors. Most private homes in Mexico have either gates or wall perimeters.

4. Install large CCTV cameras

CCTV cameras are more of a deterrent than a way to catch an unknown thief. Use of large, obvious cameras adds to the deterrent effect. Fake cameras work effectively and can be purchased inexpensively. Some have a flashing red light, which adds to its benefits. Real CCTV systems should have a recording memory of at least 90 days.

5. Install barbed wire or electrified fencing

If neighbors have this deterrent, you too can add this strategy. Thieves sometimes enter the house by breaching the perimeter wall. Barbed wire or electrified fencing offers additional perimeter protection.

6. Purchase a dog

Dogs are one of the best protection options homeowners have. There are many breeds to choose from. Look for small, hyper-energetic dogs or “working dogs,” like any of the shepherd breeds.

7. Add a gravel path around the interior of the wall or fence

If you have a dog, the crunching of gravel will attract the attention of an astute canine, day or night.

8. Alarm the house

Alarm companies like ADT offer very inexpensive security systems. They also have a response service if the alarm is triggered. Look to install motion detectors instead of the pricey window and door contacts.

9. Panic buttons

Alarm companies offer panic buttons as part of their security package. These wireless keychain buttons can easily be carried with you. It would also be a good idea to have one next to your bed, in case of intruders.

10. Security audit

Have your house professionally audited by your local security consultant. It is essential in locating possible weak points and assisting in your overall family security strategy.

Stay safe, amigos.