San Miguel: crime on the rise San Miguel: crime on the rise. Via Wikimedia Commons

Security worsening as San Miguel crime rises

Walking at night is not as safe as it used to be, says expat

The surge in crime recorded in some parts of Mexico this year has also been seen in the once peaceful Bajío town of San Miguel de Allende, and has touched its prominent expatriate population.


Calculated at 13,000 people, or 8% of the city’s inhabitants, the expat community has had to modify daily habits and routines to avoid becoming victims of criminals, reports the newspaper Reforma.

Resident David Bossman told the newspaper that just five years ago he could walk around town at any time of night without any worry.

An American and head of the citizens’ organization More Security For San Miguel, Bossman now recommends that residents avoid walking through neighborhoods and areas in which there are few people about after 9:00pm, as there are no guarantees of safety.

The best option, he said, is to hail a taxi. Otherwise, “it is probable they’ll be targeted by criminals as the incidence of muggings has increased.”

According to figures compiled by More Security For San Miguel, that particular crime has increased by 75% between January and June to 215 reports, a worrying spike when compared to the 123 recorded during all of 2015.

The surge in violence climaxed with the recent bomb attacks on three downtown bars, the first on August 5 and two more a month later.


Last year, three American nationals were murdered in the Guanajuato town, but Bossman said that the prosecutor’s office has provided little information regarding the crimes.

Bossman told Reforma that during the first five months of 2016 there have been 23 murders, “but no one knows who has been arrested . . . I believe that no one is behind bars.”

Despite the worsening security conditions, the state Tourism Secretariat reported that weekend hotel occupancy rates remain high, as does the number of couples who want to marry there.

Nonetheless, Tourism Secretary Fernando Olivera Rocha thinks that the agencies tasked with keeping San Miguel safe should attend to the concerns of the American community.

The state of Guanajuato, with one of the strongest economies in the country, has become a de facto battleground for warring cartels who dispute not only drug smuggling territory, but also the tapping of gasoline pipelines and robbing trains traversing the state.

The uptick in crime in San Miguel has been attributed by the state leader of the Democratic Revolution Party (PRD) to the arrival of several organized crime cells.

The mayor of San Miguel, for his part, believes that up to 95% of all criminal acts in the municipality can be attributed to drug retail sale activities.

In response, the Government Secretary of Guanajuato has announced that the state and 46 municipal police forces will receive the support and backup of their federal counterpart, paying special attention to the state’s industrial corridor and the municipalities of San Miguel de Allende and Dolores Hidalgo.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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  • TioDon

    A friend who owns a restaurant here in Playa once told me “We are one Swedish couple getting murdered from going back to being a deserted town”. When the main revenue generator is tourism, you cannot afford security problems. Also, tourists/locals should be aware of where to go and where not to go. Every city is the world has places where a tourist shouldn’t go.It’s the tourists responsibility to know where these are.

    • Hailey Mannering

      There are many first world major cities without dangerous areas.

      • TioDon

        Really? Would you care to name one?

        • Yasmin Rubia

          Most cities in first world countries, with the exception of the US – especially cities as small as San Miguel. Even many small cities in the US are safe all over. Give me a break !

          • TioDon

            Wow, I’d hate to travel with you to Mexico City, or Rio, of Belize, or Caracas, or Guatemala, or Baghdad, or……well, ANYWHERE in Africa, or Paris, or Milan, or Berlin, or Moscow…..shall I go on? You need to travel more and get away from your AARP groups. Careful, Yasmin.

          • mikegre

            If you want to be safe when you travel, simply visit places that are majority Anglo-Saxon.

          • Hailey Mannering

            Or Japanese or European. Yes, there might be some dangerous areas in Europe, but don´t get the impression that “all” cities have dangerous areas such as TioDon suggests. That´s an excuse used for high violent crime rates in many US and Latin American cities.

          • Yasmin Rubia

            I have travelled a lot and I have noting to do with AARP ! Mexico City, Rio, Belize, Caracas, Guatemala, Baghdad aren´t 1st world ! I hope you´ll find another place to troll !

          • TioDon

            jejeje, first, nice picture! second, I asked you to name one city that doesn’t have a dangerous area…..want to give it a try? you can even limit it to 1st world cities…..yeah, didn’t think so.

          • Hailey Mannering

            Just in Canada: I´d guess probably all or most of the following: Victoria, Regina, Thunder Bay, Sudbury, Windsor, London, Kitchener, Guelph, St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Oshawa, Ottawa, Trois Rivieres, Sherbrooke, Kingston, Halifax, Saint John, Moncton, Sydney, St. John´s, Barrie. That doesn´t mean there aren´t larger Canadian cities than these without dangerous areas.Those are all cities larger than San Miguel de Allende, which is what you´re referring to. Why you´d even bring up Belize, population 20,000 is beyond me. Thanks for your sarcasm and misinfo.

          • TioDon

            Wow, you are well traveled….in Can-a-duh….I thought you said “major” cities…yeah, Guelph is
            certainly a major international hub…..sorry, snowflake, but having seen every obscure village in Canada doesn’t qualify as having “traveled a lot”….

          • bearland

            But in those cities non-human predators are a problem so…it isn’t so safe either.

          • PrivatizeGravityNOW

            wiki says: According to the 2010 census, Belize City has a population of 57,169 people in 16,162 households

          • mark markoz

            Podgorica , Montenegro
            Safest city in the world I would say the entire country is safe people respect thier guests it very low crime anyway even amongst locals despite the fact Montenegrin s throughout Europe are now to be gansters they have a saying here don’t shit were you sleep an eat ..

          • TioDon

            Wow, it only took you 8 months to come up with a safe city….”your honor, the prosecution rests”.

          • mark markoz

            No actually I just read this the other day Mr. Prosecutor
            Your the defense rests !

          • Deborah Kupitz

            Paris? You are an idiot.

          • Deborah Kupitz

            Sorry. Didn’t get the sarcasm before I sent the last post.

    • David Nichols

      Perhaps it’s a shared responsibility…the tourist destinations all put out brochures listing the local attractions, shouldn’t they warn tourists of the dangerous areas??
      How exactly would a tourist from a foreign country learn where the danger areas were in Cancun, for example..?
      Ask a taxi driver? …there’s a fair chance the TAXI is a danger area and will drop you off at a predetermined spot to be robbed or worse…
      Just as most Americans know better than to visit the south side of Chicago, those of us who live in Mexico have an awareness of the danger areas in the major cities…
      This is not information an international tourist could easily access…

      • TioDon

        I agree completely; it’s the tourists responsibility to know where NOT to go before going there. Some cities will give you the message but not usually in writing. They have to be very careful in telling people to NOT go to certain areas.

        Yeah, not a taxi driver for sure.

        My AMEX people are pretty good about it but the internet (Trip Advisors, etc.) are my best bet. People will tell you where NOT to go.

      • Texas007

        true and the mexican government will not properly advise of this danger either, they want it kept on the down low so as not to scare away the money

    • mikegre

      DonTio loves to make excuses for the rampart crime in Mexico but by encouraging unsuspecting tourists to come to Mexico he winds up with their blood on his hands.

      • TioDon

        I have no idea what you are saying (did you mean rampant?). Did you/can you read anything I wrote?

        • mikegre

          You’re right. I take it back. Misinterpreted your post. Sorry.

          • TioDon


  • smacarol

    I’ve lived in San Miguel for 12 years; I realized I should take cabs home long ago. It’s too bad but it’s the price we pay for being rich among the poor, I guess.

  • Bonnie Otto

    I live in Acapulco and identify so much with the ex-pats in San Miguel. Most days I take taxis everywhere. I am not afraid of the buses, but as Acapulco has installed a new bus system, they are so crowded that you are putting your life in jeopardy. I have longed to visit San Miguel since I read the book “On Mexican Time” by Tony Cohan. Now this has put fear in me and I am going again to Taxco for the weekend.

  • Babs

    I’ve lived in San Miguel for sixteen years and never once have felt unsafe or felt that I needed to curtail my life activities. The population of the town of San Miguel is 61,000 with about 6500 full time expats. The municipality
    which covers many villages and towns is an extremely large area and it is possible with the amount of factories in that area there could be more expats. At Immigration I was told that the most expats moving into the area are Germans and Asians to work in the factories. Believe me, life goes on as always in this beautiful, tranquil town.

    • Timoteo W

      Everybody in San Miguel seems to wants to string Mr. Bossman up. But whether or not he did say what he was quoted as saying the things he is saying basically are true. It isn’t safe to walk around after dark anymore. Its not even a good idea to chat up new people in restaurants anymore with all the narcos and narco-politicos and shady people here. There have been 50 murders over the past year, not 25. And nobody has been caught. Two bombs have gone off. One on one of the most important street’s in Centro. I live in a good neighbourhood and every third house has been burglarised. Not nearly enough police. Street crime is way up and we don’t even want to talk about organised crime. Traffic and parking a nightmare. Crooked politicians letting developers do whatever they want. Oh but its all the pinche gringos fault! If not for foreigners San Miguel would have become a shit hole a long time ago. But that is where we are headed anyway now that the big Mexican money is in town. Very sad to witness the destruction of a magical place.

  • David Nichols

    Maybe at the next SMA book discussion somebody will mention John Milton…

  • Felipe_Calderoff

    Choose where you want to vacation or live wisely.

    • Texas007

      Dam whats up with Acapulco?

  • WestCoastHwy

    This reminds me of the National Geographic episode when the watering hole becomes a small pond, only the most vicious survive. Legal Cannabis in the USA has started to be felt down South and as I have told others, the Drug Trade will now turn into the Crime Trade which instead of Enjoying the Party, Violence will Rain Down.

  • Sandy Carrington

    It’s time the locals robbed and mugged all the rich Americans and reclaimed their beautiful historic city…..Maybe you can drive them all out to Guatemala or Ecuador because we sure as hell don’t want their attitudes back here in the states

  • Chris Stelmack

    Of these 50 murders you claim, Timoteo,, how many were Americans? Mr. Bossman says 25 murders, but he also doesn’t state how many were Americans or not.

  • Raul Medrano

    Well the truth is that, there is not city in the world that has not issues, including those in Europe, America, or Asia. It is true that Mexico is not safe heaven. It has never been. You have to know someone that has knowledge of the cities or towns you are visiting, thats my best advise to tourist. Mexico has 32 states, many cities, and small towns where you can go. Obvious you do not go to places that you do not Know! Una cosa que detesto es la opinion de personas que ni siquiera an visitado Mexico. Mexico no te va ofrecer una vida con cosas materiales o de consumismo, no, lo que si te puede ofrecer es una experiencia completamente distinta a la de Europa, EU y Asia y no hablemos o nos enfoquemos en el crimen (porque todos tienes manzanas malas), si no de la gente que sigue luchando a diario para poder ofrecer dentro de sus limites una sonrisa y cordialidad para todos los extranjeros incluyendo a estos que opinan tan mal. Viva Mexico, y si no les gustan no vallan.