While crime rates remain significant in the capital, a few precautions greatly reduce any dangers and first-time visitors are often surprised at how safe it feels. Most of the narco-related violence that makes the news abroad happens in the northern and Pacific states, far from Mexico City.
Although not as prevalent as in the 1990s, taxi assaults still occur. Many victims have hailed a cab on the street and been robbed by armed accomplices of the driver. Taxis parked in front of nightclubs or restaurants should be avoided unless authorized by the management. Rather than hailing cabs, find a sitio (taxi stand) or request a radio taxi or Uber.
The danger posed by an earthquake is low, but they do occur. On September 19, 2017, a major earthquake rocked Mexico City, destroying and damaging buildings and displacing hundreds of people. While there were hundreds of deaths, it was far less devastating than the 1985 earthquake. It reflects, in part, the great improvements that have been to the city's buildings and their ability to resist seismic activity.
The alerta sísmica (public earthquake siren) can gives seconds of warning for you to evacuate a building and is now also connected to the official government app 911 CDMX.
Although it is difficult to predict an earthquake, the latest travel advice can be found on websites such as Smart Traveller (www.smartraveller.gov.au) and the US Department of State (http://travel.state.gov).
Robberies happen most often in areas frequented by foreigners, including Plaza Garibaldi, the Zona Rosa and La Condesa late on weekend nights. Be on your guard at the airport and bus stations. Crowded metro cars and buses are favorite haunts of pickpockets, so keep a close eye on your wallet and avoid carrying ATM cards or large amounts of cash. In case of robbery, don’t resist – hand over your valuables rather than risk injury or death.
Statistically, traffic takes more lives in the capital than street crime. Always look both ways when crossing streets, as some one-way streets have bus lanes running counter to the traffic flow, and traffic on some divided streets runs in just one direction. Never assume that a green light means it’s safe to cross, as cars may turn into your path – cross with other pedestrians.
Agencia del Ministerio Público Report crime and get legal assistance. Has English-speaking staff.