A beach in Los Cabos. A beach in Los Cabos.

Violent cities study rejected in Los Cabos

Businesses say homicide data outdated and out of context as violent crime way down

A study by a Mexican non-governmental organization that ranked Los Cabos, Baja California Sur, as the most violent city in the world has been rejected by the resort town’s private sector.


The Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice said the homicide rate in Los Cabos — at 111.3 per 100,000 inhabitants — was higher than anywhere else on the planet in 2017.

But in a joint statement the Business Coordination Council (CCE), the Los Cabos Hotel Association and the Los Cabos Tourism Trust said the information the NGO disseminated is both out of date and was taken “out of context” and therefore is not an accurate representation of the city’s current security situation.

“. . . It speculates and manipulates [information], presenting untimely figures to portray the destination as an unsafe place,” the statement read. Violent crime has now been reduced by 90%, the groups charged.

Rodrigo Esponda, the general director of the tourism trust, told the newspaper El Universal that “a study that considers that Baltimore or New Orleans are more dangerous cities than Aleppo [Syria] or San Pedro Sula [Honduras] is definitely not serious.”

“In February 2017, there were 26 homicides and in February 2018, just two. The rate reduced by 93% and in March there haven’t been any [murders] so far. This is the current reality in Los Cabos, the result of a year of effort. That’s why the information is out of date and out of context and has strange intentions,” he said.

Esponda added that new military barracks funded by the local business community will help to further strengthen the fight against crime and highlighted that strong tourism numbers are expected in Los Cabos for the upcoming Spring Break.


Governor Carlos Mendoza also questioned the validity of the study.

“. . . No city in Syria appears, where there have been massive genocides. And so now it turns out that those cities are not unsafe?” he asked.

Mendoza added that the state government has recognized insecurity problems in Los Cabos and La Paz and implemented “the right strategy that achieved containment, although without declaring victory.”

However, a recent opinion piece written by a security analyst from InSight Crime said the approach the state has adopted by beefing up the presence of the military “has a dubious track record in stemming the tide of violence elsewhere.”  

In addition to Los Cabos, four other Mexican cities appear in the top 10 most violent cities in the world, according to the Citizens’ Council study. They are Acapulco (third), Tijuana (fifth) and La Paz (sixth).

The Tijuana Secretariat of Public Security also rejected its inclusion in the rankings, declaring that the study lacked rigor because it didn’t consider other high-impact crimes in its analysis and based its results purely on homicide statistics.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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  • Beau

    The statements by the Business Coordination Council, the
    Los Cabos Hotel Association and the Los Cabos Tourism Trust indicating that violent crime has now been reduced by—- 90%!!!—- is laughable, grossly exaggerated and dishonest.

  • M Aurelius

    But somehow, all those 30 million Mexicans here are just “Vibrant” and “Diverse”
    Nothing to worry about…
    Move along…

  • Mike S

    Good friend of mine winters in La Paz every year. He was there this year November 1st through March 3rd. He loves to bicycles long distances several times a week. He read about the violence in the local newspapers and it is a big topic of conversation for local expats. He also related that everything felt and looked normal to him and he made no changes in his habits or lifestyle. Same malecon scene; same fiestas; same shopping; same restaurant activity; same beach scene and kayaking; same everything. So I guess for gringos and expats not much danger. I can’t imagine the same in Syria or most big US cities. The violence seems contained exclusively to warring cartels as usual.

    • Dave Warren

      Here in Nayarit as well although sometimes we assume it is just cartel…we never really get the details.It isn’t tourist that is for sure. Many of the Hotels are owned by Cartels so they don’t want to kill the goose that laid the Golden Egg. Was a Jewelry store robbery in broad daylight in Puerto V. last week and I though …nope that wasn’t cartel…cartel might not treat the guys very well who scare off tourists.

      • Stephen Norman

        Nayarit is a mess since the phoney state election last summer. 70 killed from San Blas to Jolcoctan – includes matanchen, Aticama, Playa los Cocos and Sta Cruz. ALL drug related. Seems the Nuevo Jalisco cartel is performing a cleanup. These numbers pale in comparison to Tepic where 400 met their maker since July 2017.

        • Dave Warren

          I watched as a Apache helicopter killed 16 “H” cartel members with a 50mm machine gun fire with tracers in the evening last year.

      • Stephen Norman

        I’m not sure where your last post went? i have it in my email but not here in the blog.
        I believe you are talking about the event just leaving Tepic to Sta. Cruz? I heard they killed up to 30 ‘bad’ guys.
        Sometimes the federal govt gets it right?

        • Dave Warren

          Yeah …I don’t feel good about discussing how bad it can be . The post dumped on me and then I didn’t want to go on about it. It was a helicopter and a 55 mm machine gun and 16″H “cartel members. The 55 mm pulverizes concrete. I’m not fond of cartels but it was like an execution. I don’t know if they ask for them to “Come out with your hands up!” Then soon after the Chief Justice Vieyta goes to the US and gets nailed for trafficking etc. Then the Governor is outed as a person who stole public funds. Now Gov related from previous administration are killed almost weekly. It just goes on and on. The situation is hopeless.

          • Stephen Norman

            So you seem to be a Canadian. some day you should bring your family down to Playa los Cocos and look me up.

          • Dave Warren

            Not far at all…I’m in Tepic. If I get a chance I’ll write. leaving soon for Canada.

          • Stephen Norman

            35minutes from Bodega Aurora to my building, I’m here thru Sunday next week, off to Bucerias and returning following Weds for Easter.

  • Mark Symns

    That Los Cabos is even in the discussion speaks volumes about how bad it is.

  • dj23

    Communism, it’s little brother Socialism and illicit drugs the three worst scourges on society!

    • Mike S

      So let me understand your thinking: Social Security/Medicare/public schools & universities/ military are a scourges on society. All of Western Europe & Scandinavia are scourges. Every First World country that has universal health care (which would be every one except the US) have horrible scourges going on in their countries. Pure socialism and laissez faire capitalism are just different sides to a coin that will make a middle class into indentured servants. The kleptocracy that is ruling Russia today is not much of an improvement over the Soviet system. What is most important is representative democracy, a free press, separation of church & state, speedy open trials, civil tights for all, etc. A common sense “mixed economy” has proven the world over to bring the best prosperity. Of course nothing works if societal integrity and truth are ignored in a society.

  • DreadFool

    a good reason to reject a “violent cities study” would be coz Los Cabos is not a _city. as to the mayhem, uhm.

  • J Verdad

    It’s too bad for Los Cabos and terrible for tourism, but the fact remains that the murder rate grew to the high level it did because the government didn’t act decisively until 2018, 4 full years after the escalation of violence began. The comment about more violent cities in Syria not being used in the study for comparison is a moot point, since the authors specifically state that “cities in areas of war” (aka Syria) are not used in the statistics, for obvious reasons. Also its important to note, that the real number of murders in Los Cabos in 2017 are significantly higher than the statistics being used by the government. No surprise there. All the major news sources in BCS documented at least 426 murders in Los Cabos during 2017, much higher than the 365 figure being spun by the government.

    And as bad as the #1 ranking with a murder rate of 111 per 100,000 looks in the press, it would be far worse if the study had counted the stats for the cities of Cabo San Lucas & San Jose del Cabo separately, instead of lumping them together as “Los Cabos” in order to dilute the numbers for the report. The municipality of Los Cabos has a total population of 328,245, however 396 out of the 426 murders were committed in the city of San Jose del Cabo which has a population of 186,000. This means that the murder rate for the “City of San Jose del Cabo” is 213 per 100,000, or almost double that of any other city in the world (even cities in Syria at war). Regardless of how the numbers are manipulated, Los Cabos #1 ranking as the deadliest in world will be a painful stigma it will have to live with for rest of the year. Sad, because it all could have been easily avoided had the government taken stronger action sooner.