Home Expat Blogs Is San Miguel de Allende Less Safe Than a Year Ago?

Is San Miguel de Allende Less Safe Than a Year Ago?

Credits: Elizabeth | Adobe Stock images

Is San Miguel de Allende less safe than a year ago? Sadly, yes. At least 68 homicides were committed during the first half of this year in San Miguel compared with just two in all of 2018.

Why this huge spike in homicides? We are about an hour and a half drive from Santa Rosa de Lima, a small village near Guanajuato City, which, until earlier this year, was known to me only as a maker of fairly mediocre majolica. I now know that it is also the home of the leading gasoline-stealing gang in Mexico. The abandoned mines behind and underneath Santa Teresa have held – and may still hold – a great deal of stolen gasoline. There have been several shoot-outs between government troops and local residents this year as Mexico’s new president has sought to eliminate the very wide spread theft of gasoline. These efforts seem to be succeeding. However, this has left the Santa Rosa gang in need of “employment.” The very prosperous economy of San Miguel de Allende holds much interest.

A seldom discussed story here is that over the last 10 years or so most businesses have had to pay protection money to another gang. This has been a tragedy and has forced more than a few small businesses into bankruptcy. Now, the two gangs are fighting over the protection money business with much human fallout. The sadness of all this is beyond words. In the last two weeks, two teenagers were shot at a taco stand and innocent bystanders were also hit, one killed for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The entire city is discussing these crime issues at length. There is a clear recognition that this is a serious problem and there has been much discussion about potential solutions.

On the positive side, there is now a great deal of serious money in the major hotels and restaurants in San Miguel, many of which have prominent and politically-connected backers. And, the new president of Mexico has made security for the country a top priority. So far, this upsurge in violence has not yet affected expats living in San Miguel. There was a shooting of two policemen this week that resulted in the apprehension of three suspects within an hour, helped greatly by city security cameras. More will be installed in the future.

Has this increase in crime affected my life or the life of my friends? No. Has it changed San Miguel? Not much, at least from my viewpoint as a local expat resident and a businessman. Of course, there is great compassion for the loss of life and concern about the future of personal safety here, but life goes on as before. But there is now a new reality to living in one the world’s most favored cities.

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Ben Pitre
Ben Pitre has worked in real estate for decades as a builder, renovator, sub-divider and syndicator in the U.S. and San Miguel de Allende. He has also been a long-term residential and industrial landlord. He is almost certainly the only real estate agent in San Miguel who has both demonstrated Japanese flower arrangements for the San Miguel Garden Club and fought in public boxing exhibitions (4-0). Ben is an agent with 1st International Realty and can be reached at benpitre@gmail.com.


  1. Santa Rosa de Lima is located near Salamaca. Santa Rosa near Guanajuato Capital is a different pueblo. You are 100% wrong.

    • Not my first error; certainly not the less I would guess. I stand 100% by the huicheloeros moving into new lines of work. It was first told to me by an Ex-president and has been confirmed by the Mayor of San Miguel as well as several business owners I know who have had experience. Thanks for the help. I can’t blame my problems with Mexican geography on my age because I was challenged as a 20 year old but it sure makes writing the blog easier knowing the community is there to help and support!

  2. Ben have you actually seen Santa Rosa majolica? It’s very well done. Don’t denigrate what the town people do well and can make good money from.
    An expat permanente residente of San Rafael who is glad that San Miguel retains some of the old culture while becoming a more prosperous place for many San Miguelenses …things either improve economically or get worse and I think improvements is better, and yes it brings modernization…but what would we do without WiFi?

  3. Yup… You have the Wrong Santa Rosa de Lima. The one you describe makes great candy at the womens’ co-op, stunning pottery and swell mezcal. They have not had violence.

  4. Ben, opening a map does not hurt. Moreover, I agree with Jan, their majolica is very good and I would not jeopardize their way of making their living. The blog is about safety not about majolica connoisseurs.

  5. Que artículo tan absurdo. Antes que nada, necesita un mapa para mencionar los lugares cercanos correctos. Lo que usted llama trabajo mediocre, es el sustentó para familias, la calidad del trabajo es buena, no entiendo porque decido desacreditar a dicho Estado y el trabajo de sus pobladores. Es una lástima que se dedique a la inmobiliaria en dicho lugar y se refiere al mismo con poco agrado.

  6. I think quibbling over the quality of the majolica or the exact name of a nearby pueblo kind of misses the point of this post. The increase in violence in and around San Miguel de Allende sounds horrifying, and it’s very helpful (at least to me) to be aware of it, and why it’s happening, and whether expats should be concerned for their own safety.

  7. very sad .. not unlike Americans who live in Washington DC, New Orleans, Chicago etc. Most Americans are among the earth’s safest people and don’t know it!

  8. “The new president of México has made security of the country a top priority” president Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador hates México! Esta convirtiendo a México en otra Venezuela.


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