Mexico CIty - Dangerous??
Replies: 22 - Last Post: Apr 22, 2012 6:32 PM Last Post By: felmingham
Apr 4, 2012 12:09 AM
Mexico CIty - Dangerous??My question is what parts of MEXICO CITY are considered dangerous or no-go zones?
Today I visited Tepito, quite possibly Mexico City's most notoriously dangerous neighbourhood as part of my metro project. You can read about it here.
Apr 4, 2012 6:59 AM
1hey, I've enjoyed reading about your neighbourhood visits.
As a (often) solo female traveller, I often get 'don't-go-there-it's-dangerous' advice. I'll heed it, or not, depending on the reliability of the source. For example, people who told me Nicaragua was dangerous (because they thought the civil war was still on-going) were ignored.
A few years back in DF, I was driving with a local friend and pointed out an advertisement on the side of a bus for a huge shore store in Iztapalapa. (I hadn't brought any nice party shoes with me and was having trouble finding anything in my size-some clerks would look down at my feet and shake their heads "no" when I asked for my size).
My friend said it was in a dangerous area and that I shouldn't go, they'd pounce on an outsider. I asked if he could come with me and he said he's an outsider there, too and in as much danger from the local tough guys. I looked suspicious, figuring he just didn't want to go shoe shopping but he got upset and made me promise I wouldn't head out there.
Looking forward to reading more of your reports. Maybe you need some new shoes?
Apr 4, 2012 7:55 AM
2Thanks for that report. I walked to Tepito from the zocalo a couple of years ago to visit the Santa Muerte shrine. The advantage of walking is that you can continuously judge your surroundings at all times and can turn around if you find the neighbourhood a little too scary; while arriving via a Metro stop can leave you a little disoriented and vulnerable at first and unprepared for what you find. Indeed, the staff at the tourist kiosk at the zocalo told me not to go, it was dangerous (this after I had already visited).
Apr 4, 2012 9:12 AM
3Im not sure which streets in Tepito are supposed to be 'really' dangerous, but I've walked the area within 3 blocks of the Tepito metro station several times and never had anyone even look at me funny. And as a 6ft blondie, I stand out. The sprawling street market west of the metro stop hardly feels edgy to me, at all. The Santa Muerte sanctuary, 3 blocks north of the metro stop, is fascinating. Over there it is definitely a little weirder, a few kids in the street huffing glue, etc, but still.. nothing that felt threatening, unless you consider people in the street worshiping a skeleton decked out in robes and jewels threatening. Mclarjh, somehow it doesn't surprise me that the personnel in the Zocalo tourist kiosk disapproved of your walk to Tepito...ha. Did you ask them for a Santa Muerte tourist map?
Nice job with the Metro Project, op. Come back and report if you find anything interesting.
Apr 4, 2012 10:37 AM
4A few trips to DF ago I walked from some place north of Merced to Tepito (in the daytime). I had no trouble at all and in fact really enjoyed seeing that part of the city. I could see how people would consider it dangerous, although to me it's just sort of gritty and work-a-day with some rough looking individuals here and there.
That doesn't mean it's the safest place in town, and it looked like for sure there were instances of all sorts of things that could go on in the back streets, but it wasn't like visiting Lagos or Mogadishu or anything.
I didn't have anything with me - no camera, not much money, no backpack - and walked as I always do, sort of with a sense of purpose as though I know where I'm going and I had a good time. Lots of Koreans around there, which is interesting because I live in Vancouver where we have a very large Korean population and it's weird seeing them speaking Spanish and being Mexican residents instead of speaking English and being Canadian residents.
I'm enjoying the blog too, great idea. I did something like that once in Tokyo, though didn't write any of it down, just made a point of going to far flung metro stations for a few months.
Apr 4, 2012 11:26 AM
5I don't find Tepito particularly dangerous during the day. At night, however, I can imagine that it is a different story. The thing is, the area is incredibly important for the underground economy, managed by some very important people in the country. Not only is at the center of Mexico's counterfeit and pirated goods market, it is also one of the centers of narcotics trafficking in the city. For criminals who have millions if not billions of pesos at stake, it makes sense to keep the neighborhood relatively tranquil, so as to not attract too much attention from the authorities.
Places like Iztapalapa, which #1 mentions, are the exact opposite. Much of the area is populated by the city's, and arguably the country's, most disenfranchised residents. I have been to the area on a couple of occasions and don't recommend it.
Apr 4, 2012 3:37 PM
6Many Americans who are ignorant about Vietnam, and lots of other places. But, the exercise done in the video linked above was a bit of a set up. I doubt that anyone can use a single word to describe an entire country, no matter what that country is, without appearing shallow, ignorant, or prejudiced. One word answers cannot convey any nuance or complexity.
Apr 5, 2012 4:23 AM
Apr 5, 2012 5:33 PM
8It's sort of a Mexico City tradition to consider your own neighborhood "iffy" and everywhere else dangerous. Geeze, I had Teptio people tell me Santa Maria de la Ribera was full of thieves. I think a lot of the bad reputation neighborhoods get has more to do with taking the crimes of poverty more seriously than the crimes of the wealthy. It wasn't in Tepito where a security guard got beaten up by a dude who demanded assistance changing a tire, but Polanco.
I stayed, for a very short time, in Tepito (about two weeks, while finishing up a job, and planning to return to the U.S. for a period of time) and thought of it as run-down, but no more dangerous than other economically disadvantaged neighborhood... yeah, there are some "colorful" characters (and some dangerous ones), but I never bothered anyone and no one ever bothered me.
Itzapalapa, being a delegation of about a half-million people, has its problems, but just being on the street, even at night ... even when the power goes out during an earthquake (been there, done that) isn't any different than being anywhere else particularly.
Apr 5, 2012 5:55 PM
Apr 5, 2012 8:16 PM
10What's politics have to do with this? , For that matter, "politically correct" is something only said in the negative (as in "I know this is not politically correct...") implying that the speaker knows that his or her remarks are offensive to the listener, but justifying him or herself on some rather specious free speech grounds. The hearer hasn't questioned the person's right to speak, but has every right to think the speaker is a flaming idiot and a boor.
At any rate, no comparison ... what I said was that crimes related to poverty get more attention than other types of crimes. As to being victimized in Polanco, or Tepito or Santa Maria de la Ribera... unlikely to happen to someone minding their own business and just passing through.
Apr 5, 2012 8:31 PM
Apr 6, 2012 5:00 AM
12RichTX1, I think people confuse poor and/or disenfranchised with dangerous and criminal. Most people on here have probably been more negatively effected economically by the "banksters" than by petty thievery.
As I said in my first post, I always take into account who's telling me a place is dangerous. If the person telling me Iztapalapa isn't recommended has also said they would avoid Condesa, then their opinion doesn't hold up for me.
Apr 6, 2012 6:47 AM
13First of all, Rich, your understanding of the term "politically correct" is incorrect. Second, your 'analysis' comes up rather short. Have you seen the attention the Sakal case has gotten in the Mexican media? If that had been a poor guy beating on another poor guy, we wouldn't have any idea that it happened. I agree that blue collar crimes are more demonized than white collar crimes, even though, as #13 implies, white collar crimes tend to have a greater effect. However, when talking about the immediate dangers of a city, it is important to understand that lower-income areas tend to be more dangerous. Does that fact upset you, Rich? Does it seem classist to you? By the way, in countries with mixed-race populations, like the U.S., minority areas also tend to be more violent. Do you think I'm a racist for saying so? Unlike you, I understand, and am willing to accept that this is the reality. I also understand that there are some important sociological reasons for that reality. It is most unhelpful to try and obscure that reality.
Sanddrifts...I said that I would avoid living in Condesa for several reasons. Not only because rents are extraordinarily high and I believe there is high potential for opportunistic thefts, but also because the area is among the most vulnerable to earthquakes. Also, that was a year ago. Do you really have so little going on that that discussion continues to be important to you?
Apr 6, 2012 8:17 AM
14james2187, yeah, a year ago you said the Condesa area "is targeted for robberies and express kidnappings against foreigners" but last week gave a poster the advice that they "shouldn't have problems" visiting Condesa. So, yes, I find your opinions on the safety of neighbourhoods unreliable.
Since you ask, you do come off as classist and afraid of poor people and "mixed populations."
Don't bother sending me another personally insulting PM; I blocked you after the last one. You know that's not what the feature was intended for, right?
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