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How Expats Can Stay Safe in Mexico

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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.

4 COMMENTS

  1. I have rented a house in Ajijic for September 1 for a year. I am on my own and have travelled solo to many places in the world. Your article on safety has me scared. Are breakins common?

    • Dear Lana, my husband and I live in Mexico for most of the year and we prefer to live in an area where we can experience the culture, meet new people, eat real Mexican food and practice speaking Spanish. We are not in Mexico to live in a gated community. This does not mean we are reckless about our safety. I am told by many, who know Mexico well, that break-ins occur mostly during the slow season when unoccupied homes can be an easy target. These are usually not professional thieves but often youngsters who know how to quickly get easy money by selling stolen electronics and brand name clothing. So just make sure your doors and windows are locked well after dark and, if you are not sure, block these from opening by placing a rod or sturdy stick on the track. If a thief cannot get in easy or notices the home is occupied, they will likely go on. Just us common sense, as you would do everywhere. No need to live in fear or in a fortress. Most of the tips in the article seem steps to take for homeowners who want to protect their property when they leave for 6 months, not necessarily personal safety rules. Enjoy your time in Mexico.

  2. I am considering moving to Mexico at some point. However, unlike most of the ex-pats that I have heard about, I am not a wealthy pensioner, or in any position to purchase a home at a resort, or gated community. In fact, if I told you what part of Mexico that I am familiar with, where I have friends, and where I have stayed, and where I intend to live, the patrons of this site might freak out.

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