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Is Chihuahua Mexico Safe to Visit in 2024? What Is the Chihuahua Mexico Crime Rating?

Is Chihuahua Mexico safe for travel? Chihuahua is one of the largest Mexican states and has many sites to behold. For example, you can explore the 1920s Mennonites community, unique Mata Ortiz Pottery art as well as 30 meters tall Cusarare Falls. But it also carries some dangers for visitors associated with a fairly high crime rate of about 66%.

The most common crimes of the state include cartel violence, fraud, and petty theft. But how do you get safe and the most out of your trip to Chihuahua? How to save yourself from scams and which areas should you avoid? Keep reading and uncover all the details! Let’s dive into it!

Is Сhihuahua Mexico Safe to Visit in 2024 –  Key Takeaways

  1. Cartel Violence Risk HIGH
  2. Kidnappings Risk HIGH
  3. Fraud RiskMEDIUM
  4. Petty Theft RiskMEDIUM
  5. Level of Danger When DrivingHIGH
  6. Level of Danger in BusesMEDIUM
  7. Level of Danger in TaxiLOW
  8. Bad Areas – Ciudad Juarez, Barrio de San Miguel, Santa Rosa de Lima, San Felipe de Jesus
  9. Safe Places – Creel, Divisadero, Bahuichivo, Chihuahua City
  10. Crime in Chihuahua City (capital of the state Chihuahua) compared to other cities in Mexico – Rating based on real reviews from travelers and locals according to Numbeo. Crime index meaning: 0-20 is very low, 20-40 is low, 40-60 is moderate, 60-80 is high, and 80-100 is very high.

CITY

STATE

CRIME INDEX

Guerrero

28.92

Quintana Roo

34.21

Jalisco

35.70

Quintana Roo

36.94

Queretaro

37.55

Sinaloa

39.43

Oaxaca

43.19

Baja California Sur

43.24

Nogales

Sonora

45.39

Nuevo León

48.25

Veracruz

49.20

Guanajuato

50.54

San Miguel de Allende

Guanajuato

50.94

Chihuahua

Chihuahua

55.49

Quintana Roo

55.73

Morelia

Michoacan

56.90

Puebla

58.23

Chihuahua

68.71

Baja California

71.99

  1. Number of crimes in the Chihuahua state compared to other states in Mexico:
U.S. government employees may travel at any time to the area of the city of Chihuahua bounded to the north by Avenida Transformacion; to the east by Avenida Tecnologico/Manuel Gomez Morin/Highway 16/Blvd.Jose Fuentes Mares; to the west by the city boundary; and to the south by Periferico Francisco R. Almada.US Department of State

Why Is Chihuahua Mexico So Dangerous? Unveiling 4 Common Crimes

Chihuahua is a Mexican state that is known for famous places like Copper Canyon and Paquime Archaeological Tourist Zones. However, it also has many dangers. An official report released by the Government of Mexico mentions that the total cases of crimes last year were around 73,966 in the state. Out of which 5,362 were only disclosed in December 2023. 

The total cases of crimes Chihuahua
Credit: www.gob.mx

Another report by Elcri, which uses data from the Mexican Justice System, mentions that Chihuahua State experienced 322 homicides last year. The highest of them were in Juarez with a rate of 68.1. Now, allow me to shed light on the 4 common crimes of the state. Let’s dive further:

Chihuahua masks a dark underbelly of cartel violence. Powerful groups like the Sinaloa and Jalisco Nueva Generacion cartels battle for control of lucrative drug trafficking and other illicit activities. This has led to shootouts, murders, and disappearances of many people that put locals and visitors at risk.

BorderReport said that this activity has victimized over 650 lives in 2021. In 2023, the same warfare cost 15 lives, according to research by KGET. BorderReport also predicted that the drug cartels violence risk is going to increase even more in 2024.

The main reasons behind the escalation of these risks include:

  1. Arrest of high-ranked gang members;
  2. Murdering of cartel members;
  3. Territory expansion in the controlled area by the rivals.
Cartel-related Violence Risk
Credit: www.globalguardian.com

2. Kidnappings Risk – High

Kidnapping poses a dire risk in Chihuahua, especially for foreigners and affluent individuals. 2023 saw a record high of kidnappings, with a total reported cases were around 181, according to a report by El Diario. This was almost thrice than the previous year when there were 67 victims.

The US government has also issued a travel advisory on kidnapping risks for people traveling to Chihuahua City. The cartels use abductions to generate income or intimidate rivals. However, this trend has also been seen in immigrants as they can be used for drug or organ selling.

The U.S. government Travel Advisory
Credit: www.travel.state.gov
Important Note: The U.S. government issues a Travel Advisory for its nationals, who are traveling the area based on the risk levels. It has 4 levels, ranging from blue to red:
  1. If the area is safe, it will be labeled as “Exercise normal precautions” in blue color.
  2. However, if there is any kind of risk to life, it is given level 4 risk with the label “Do not travel” in red color.

Chihuahua has a code 3 risk with the label “Reconsider travel” in orange color. This means you should only visit the state if you have an important piece of work or you can really take care of yourself.

Mexico Travel Advisory from The U.S. government
Credit: www.travel.state.gov

3. Fraud Risk – Moderate

According to published stats by the Security and Citizen Protection Secretary on January 10, 2024, the total number of reported frauds in Chihuahua state is 5,601. An important consideration is that out of these, 585 offenses were highlighted in March, a month of Spring when more foreigners visit the state.

If you are visiting Chihuahua City, the following are some of the common frauds:

  1. Bystanders often try to sell fake goods like counterfeit pottery or fake Mennonite cheese. You should not buy anything from them unless you are fully satisfied with the product.
  2. Also, many tourists are overcharged by taxi drivers. I would recommend you opt for Uber.
  3. Many banking card skimmers loom around less-crowded places. Therefore, use ATMs that are located in well-crowded places.

4. Petty Theft Risk – Moderate

Just like other crimes, petty theft is common in Chihuahua City. Vandalism and theft have a crime index based on Numbeo data of 55 out of 100. Pickpockets and purse snatchers target crowds at markets, bus stops, and tourist sites. Some work in teams to distract people while stealing. Others break into parked cars and hotel rooms to take valuables. You should be careful. Keep your things close and out of sight in crowds.

Petty Theft in Chihuahua

What are the Bad Areas to Avoid in Chihuahua Mexico?

There are some dangerous neighborhoods in Chihuahua State that you particularly need to look out for. The following are 4 bad areas that you need to avoid during your Chihuahua city trip:

The Bad Areas in Chihuahua Mexico
  1. Ciudad Juarez: You should avoid Ciudad by all means if you are planning for vacation. It is the third most dangerous city in the world with a homicide rate of 103.61 per 100,000 inhabitants in 2023, as per Statista. 
  2. Barrio de San Miguel: Barrio is one of the poorest areas of Chihuahua. It is known as a high-risk zone for robberies, assaults, and drug trafficking. According to Areavibes, a crime stats site, the total reported crimes were around 542 per 100k people.
  3. Santa Rosa de Lima: If you don’t want to get caught in gang wars, you should stay away from De Lima. This place is known as the hometown of the Santa Rosa de Lima cartel. It is also famous for cartel turf wars.
  4. San Felipe de Jesus: This is a borderline village between Mexico City and the USA. Therefore, it provides a safe passage for drug smuggling across the countries as well as illegal mining activities

3 Factors-Based Complete Guide to Transport in Chihuahua

If you are planning to visit Chihuahua City, you might have to use local transit. The following are the transport options that you need to consider while staying in the state:

1. Is it Safe to Drive in Chihuahua Mexico? – High Risk

Chihuahua isn’t safe to drive alone. Driving in the city poses risks due to cartel violence and poor road conditions. This area is located along major drug trafficking routes. Which makes it a target for cartel activities and theft. The overall criminal risk index associated with your car in Chihuahua is about 48-55, according to Numbeo.

Is it Safe to Drive in Chihuahua Mexico

However, you can still enjoy driving your trip in Chihuahua. As per the U.S. travel advisory, the following roads are considered safe to drive in Chihuahua City:

  1. Avenida Transformación;
  2. Avenida Tecnológico;
  3. Manuel Gómez Morín;
  4. Highway 16;
  5. Blvd.José Fuentes Mares;
  6. Periférico Francisco R. Almada.

2. Safety in Buses in Сhihuahua – Moderate Risk

Buses are generally considered a safe mode of travel in Chihuahua. This is because you’ll be traveling with a group of people. However, you also need to take care of bus routes as some areas such as Santa Rosa de Lima can be targeted by cartels. 

I can recommend you to choose bus companies like 

Safe bus companies
  1. FlixBus;
  2. Futura;
  3. Transportes Chihuahuenses.

Another bus service is busbud. This is a premium service that is designed for travelers. Their buses mostly take security precautions and go to most of the Chihuahua’s worth-seeing sites.

3. Safety in Taxis in Сhihuahua – Low-Risk

The overall safety in taxis in Chihuahua is good with a low risk of violent crime. However, solo travel is not recommended, especially if you are new or traveling to the outskirts. 

  1. If you want private travel, book taxis with sign-on roofs or sides. Avoid being in the taxis with no sign.
  2. Online taxi services like Uber are also present. Moreover, you can also take the El Chepe train, which is one of the safest and most convenient public transport in the state.

Is Сhihuahua Safe at Night? High Risk

Chihuahua City is unsafe to walk or travel at night. Based on Numbeo’s research the Chihuahua safety index regarding walking alone during night rating is only 30, which is low. Many crimes such as petty thefts or fraud are common during evening hours. You should stay in a well-populated area and travel with the group at night. 

Is Сhihuahua Safe at Night

The Risk of Natural Disastеrs in Chihuahua

The wеathеr of Chihuahua is tеmpеratе with an average of 66°F (18.9°C) and very little rainfall around 13 inches (332 mm) per year. The following are the natural disasters that you can expect during your visit:

1. Hurricanes

Chihuahua’s inland dеsеrt location shiеlds it from direct hurricanе impacts. Howеvеr, hurricanеs affеcting thе Pacific Ocеan or Gulf of Mеxico can still bring hеavy rains and winds to thе arеa. Thе еffеcts can cause flooding, landslidеs, powеr outagеs, and damagе.

Hurricanes Risk in Chihuahua

One such incident occurred in the capital of Chihuahua in August 2019. Due to heavy rain and flooding, 80 flooding cases and 9 landslides were reported. This resulted in the loss of 1 life. You can use the National Hurricane Service to keep a check on upcoming storms and hurricanes. Moreover, follow the Hurricane Safety Tips such as:

  1. Be informed of threats by keeping an eye on the emergency alert system (EAS) or calling the 2-1-1 hotline.
  2. Prepare an emergency plan and kit that can help in case of an unfortunate hurricane event.
  3. If there is heavy flooding, try to evacuate the area as quickly as possible.
  4. Contact local authorities via 911 to go to safe places and report emergencies.

2. Earthquakes

Chihuahua City Center sees fewer and less intense earthquakes than other parts of Mexico due to its northern location away from tectonic boundaries. However, seismic risk remains. On average, Chihuahua receives 1 earthquake per month with a magnitude of 4 or above. The strongest on record was 5.4 in November 2022, which stuck 233 kilometers east of Ciudad Juarez. However, no human loss was reported.

Earthquakes Risk in Chihuahua

To stay informed, you can take the following precautions:

  1. Check sites like Volcano Discovery for earthquake-related information;
  2. Prepare by learning safety tips from the Federal Emergency Management Agency website;
  3. Install the 911 CDMX app for 60-second earthquake warnings;
  4. In the event of a quake, drop, cover, and hold on until the shaking passes;
  5. Stay alert afterward for aftershocks. 

What are the Safe Places to Visit in Сhihuahua?

Despite all the criminal incidents, various places in Chihuahua City are considered safe. Some popular tourist destinations are highlighted below:

The Safest Places in Chihuahua Mexico
  1. Creel: It is a scenic town in Chihuahua state. The worth-seeing destinations are indigenous Tarahumara culture and Copper Canyon’s natural attractions like waterfalls and hot springs.
  2. Divisadero: It is a small village with spectacular observation deck views of Copper Canyon. This place is good for adventures like hiking and zip-lining.
  3. Bahuichivo: This area is a rural gateway town to the nearby Cerocahui mission. You can enjoy the waterfall, vineyard, and the tranquility of nature.
  4. Chihuahua City: It is a state capital with colonial buildings, museums, plazas, and parks. The place is located in safer districts like the historic center and metropolis (avoid wandering out of city limits).

9 Safety Tips for Сhihuahua Mexico Listed!

Allow me to present some safety tips that you should consider while traveling to Chihuahua Mexico:

  1. Get Insurance: Purchase comprehensive travel insurance to cover any unexpected medical expenses or adventure activities. Reputable providers include NY Travel Insurance.
  2. Avoid drug dealing: Do not purchase, possess, or consume any illegal drugs under any circumstances. Since the area is quite notorious for such activities, you have to be extra careful. If caught with drugs, you may have to face jail for up to 25 years.
  3. Avoid police encounters: Poice corruption is common in Chihuahua City. If stopped by police, politely request to see the officer’s citation and identification before paying any fine. Do not offer bribes, as this is illegal. Contact the U.S. Embassy if you feel unfairly treated.
  4. Keep a check on local news: Stay up to date on local news and any security alerts from official sources like The Chihuahua Post. Enroll in the Smart Traveler Program (STEP) to get the latest information about your destination from your embassy.
  5. Use reputable travel options: Only use regulated transportation like authorized taxis or shuttle services. Some reputable options include Sim Transporte de Chihuahua or Sim Transporte de Chihuahua
  6. Don’t keep more money: Don’t carry too much cash. 4000 – 5000 pesos are enough. You can utilize a borderless ATM account for emergency cash withdrawals (Charles Schwab for Americans and Wise for European citizens). 
  7. Keep an eye on the weather: Monitor weather reports closely during hurricane season and have emergency supplies ready like food, water, medicine, and power sources. 
  8. Buy safety bags: Get a theft-proof backpack like Pacsafe Travelsafe case to avoid your precious belongings from the hands of pickpockets. 
  9. Learn some Spanish phrases: Since Spanish is the official language, learn some common phrases. These will help you to communicate with locals on the go.

FAQs

Is it Safе to Travеl to Chihuahua Mеxico?

Chihuahua in Northern Mexico is not safe to travel as it has a high risk of cartels and kidnappings. The place has an overall high level of crime index of 66, with common crimes such as pеtty thеft, fraud, kidnappings, and cartеl violеncе. 

What is thе Crimе Ratе in Chihuahua Mеxico?

Thе crimе ratе indеx in Chihuahua Mеxico regarding Numbeo is 66 out of 100. This is a high lеvеl of crimе with common offеnsеs including mugging, thеft, and physical violеncе.

Is Uber Safe in Chihuahua?

Yes, Uber is safe in Chihuahua City. However, ensure that you don’t travel to remote areas alone. Moreover, always keep emergency contacts under your access to handle any mishap.

Conclusion

Let’s revise, is Chihuahua Mexico Safe for travel? The state has a high crime index of 66 per 100 and is not generally safe for travelers. Some common offenses include cartel violence, kidnappings, fraud, and petty theft. 

The U.S. government has issued an advisory for its citizens visiting Chihuahua State and advising “reconsider travel”. You have to avoid areas like Ciudad Juarez or Barrio de San Miguel. The safe places include Copper Canyon, Quinta Gameros, and the Historical Museum of the Mexican Revolution.

Moreover, keep a check on natural disasters like hurricanes or earthquakes to handle any emergency timely. Finally, exercise normal precautions like getting insurance, avoiding drugs, and joining programs like STEP to get the most out of your Chihuahua trip.