Skip to Content

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

Is Monterrey Mexico safe for travel in 2024? Monterrey is a wonderful city and one of the most popular tourist destinations in Mexico. It has a crime index of 48.3, which means it is a moderate-level safe city. Especially in terms of the fact that the average Mexico crime index of 53.8. However, problems like cartel violence, fraud, and petty crime still endanger visitors to this vibrant city.

Keep reading and know which areas are safer in Monterrey, and which ones you should avoid. Learn how to protect yourself from widespread organized crime like cartels. Moreover, uncover which transportation modes are the most secure, and 8 tips to make your journey hassle-free. Let’s dive into the details!

Is Monterrey Mexico Safe to Visit in 2024 – Key Takeaways

  1. Cartel Violence RiskLOW
  2. Kidnappings RiskMEDIUM
  3. Fraud Risk LOW
  4. Petty Theft RiskMEDIUM
  5. Level of Danger When DrivingMEDIUM
  6. Level of Danger in Buses LOW
  7. Level of Danger on Metro SystemLOW
  8. Level of Danger in TaxiMEDIUM
  9. Level of Danger for American TouristsMEDIUM
  10. Level of Danger at NightHIGH
  11. Bad Areas – Solidaridad, Independencia, The Barrio Antiguo
  12. Safe Places – San Pedro Garza Garcia, Santa Catarina, Monterrey Downtown area
  13. Crime in Monterrey 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

Monterrey

Nuevo León

48.25

Veracruz

49.20

Guanajuato

50.54

San Miguel de Allende

Guanajuato

50.94

Сhihuahua

55.49

Quintana Roo

55.73

Morelia

Michoacan

56.90

Puebla

58.23

Chihuahua

68.71

Baja California

71.99

 Jaime Lopez-Aranda
It is relatively safe for travelers to head to tourist destinations and major urban centers such as Mexico City, Guadalajara and Monterrey. Jaime Lopez-Aranda, Senior Manager at Latin America Security

Is It Safe To Travel To Monterrey Mexico?

Monterrey is the the capital of the Nuevo León state and it houses many beautiful places like the MACRO art center or the caves of Grutas de Garcia. According to Numbeo, its safety index is 51.75, which is moderate. However, this doesn’t mean that the place is completely safe. Join me as I explore the common crimes in Monterrey Mexico:

1. Risk of Cartel Violence – Low

The risk of cartel violence is low in Monterrey. The only active gang is Cartel del Golfo. Although there were some reports of killings, the overall condition is fine. For example, the Associated Press reports that 12 dead bodies were found in Monterrey in September 2023. But police presence said that this was due to some internal conflicts.

Risk of Cartel Violence
Credit: www.globalguardian.com

There was only one genuine case of cartel violence that resulted in 6 casualties last year, according to CBS News. However, the culprits were arrested very soon. As per the stats of Elcri, the average homicide rate is 19.7 per population of 1,158,290. This is fairly moderate compared to major cities like El Carmen or Los Ramones of the same state, which have a very high homicide rate of 65.4 and 207.4, respectively.

Homicide rate
Credit: www.elcri.men

2. Risk of Kidnappings – Moderate

There is a moderate level of risk of kidnapping in Monterrey for tourists. Even though the city is in the relatively less dangerous state of Nuevo Leon, the U.S. Department of State has still advised that you be extra cautious.

the U.S. Department of State reccomendations
Credit: www.travel.state.gov

Al-Jazeera News mentioned that 49 migrants were abducted from the bus in May 2023 year. However, authorities managed to release them after a search. As long as you exercise normal precautions such as staying with large groups and having emergency services on speed dial you won’t be at risk of kidnappings.

3. Risk of Fraud – Low

It’s unfortunate that this vibrant city also has its share of fraudulent activity and tourist scams. The Fraud Prevention Department of the U.S. Consulate in Monterrey reports an increase in fraud from 12% to 15%. However, authorities claim that most of the affectees have been catered properly. Here are some infamous scams you need to be on the lookout for in Monterrey:

Scams to Watch Out for in Monterrey
  1. Picture scam: In Monterrey, Mexico, a common scam involves unsuspecting locals requesting that you capture their image. The person in question offers you their camera and requests that you snap their photo. They will deliberately drop the camera when you return it, then accuse you of damaging it and demand payment.
  2. Overcharging taxis: In Monterrey, you can book private local cabs. However, if you are new to the area, you may be overcharged. Sometimes, the drives can even take you on unnecessary roads to change fares. Therefore, ensure that the meter is on while starting the ride. You should also plan your route ahead of time before hopping in the cab so you know how long the ride will be.
  3. Credit card frauds: Street fraudsters may try to access your credit card details and colonize them. They can use the information to make unauthorized purchases or withdrawals. Most of these criminals are in connection with local shopkeepers. With their help, they try to get your credit card information.

4. Risk of Petty Theft – Moderate

The petty theft-related risks are not that much common in Monterrey. Statista Research Department mentions that thievery makes up only 10% of the total crime. The Numbeo also indicates a moderate level of theft with a crime index score of around 55. Still, the danger of theft lurks upon the visitors. Therefore, exercise caution and keep your personal belongings secure by not showing them off.

Bad Areas to Avoid In Monterrey

Fewer crimes have occurred in Mexico in recent years as a result of Governor Jaime Rodriguez Calderon’s efforts to curb gang wars. Nevertheless, the United States Department of State has warned against visiting some areas in Monterrey due to the continued dangers they pose.

Bad Areas to Avoid In Monterrey
  1. Solidaridad: Drug dealing and cartel activity is rampant in this neighborhood. As per the report of Milenio, 2 men were murdered in their home by a group of criminals in this state. The prominent crimes in the area are theft, robbery, and extortion.
  2. Independencia: Independencia is another dangerous neighborhood in Monterrey. This city had a reputation for being the most violent city for cartel wars in the past. Moreover, the high rate of poverty and social marginalization are also common in this area.
  3. The Barrio Antiguo: This is a bad area as it is prone to petty theft, pick-pocketing, and car break-ins. Moreover, some of the place’s buildings are in poor condition, giving the area a rundown and dilapidated look

An Insight Into Monterrey Crime and Transportation: An All-Inclusive Guide

Taxis, metro, and buses all work together to make Monterrey’s public transit system quite efficient. A more secure trip may be yours if you know what to look out for on each. Let’s dive into more details on the safety concerns regarding transportation in Monterrey.

Is it Safe to Drive in Monterrey Mexico? Risk Level: Moderate

Is it Safe to Drive in Monterrey Mexico

City driving isn’t always easy due to factors including insufficient signage, complicated route layouts, and heavy traffic. The risk of your car getting stolen is also moderate, with an overall crime index of 52 by Numbeo. Having a vehicle might be helpful for exploring the region, such as getting you to Fundidora Park or the Metropolitan Cathedral, 2 of the best attractions in Monterrey.

You can drive in Monterrey if you choose to, but remember that there are better and safer options, such as using Uber where available or the Monterrey metro system.

Safety in Buses in Monterrey – Risk Level: Low

The bus safety is quite good in Monterrey. This is because there are fewer chances of any crime in daylight in the city. In fact, it has a high safety index during daylight which is around 79 as per Numbeo. The following are a few buses that you can take in Monterrey:

Safety in Buses in Monterrey
  • Ecovia – a BRT system that runs the east-west axis of the city;
  • Muevo Leon – a network of express services with modern facilities;
  • Rutas Urbanas – Green or yellow buses that cover most of the city and its surroundings.

Safety on Monterrey’s Metro System – Risk Level: Low

The Monterrey Metro, or Metrorrey, is a reliable and secure method of getting about town. Using the Metrorrey lines 2 and 3 can get you to El Centro, the downtown area of Monterrey.

But, to prevent being a target for pickpockets, it is best to avoid using the train during rush hours when there are a lot of people. This is because Monterrey had a crime index of 39.6 when it came to the worry of being attacked by someone, as per data from Numbeo.

Safety in taxis in Monterrey – Risk Level: Moderate

Taxi drivers in the area may attempt to overcharge you if they see you as a tourist since they feel you don’t know the right fare. Express kidnappings, on the other hand, are a problem in Mexico as well as in Monterrey. The danger isn’t worth it, even if not every cab driver is a scam artist.

Safety in taxis in Monterrey
  • If you can, use Uber every time. The reason is you get the driver’s name and phone number, and review history when you hail this service. You can see the estimated fare and the path the driver should take.
  • However, Uber may not be available in every part of the city, such as at the Monterrey International Airport. Therefore, you can book a private cab. Some notable taxi services in the area are Radio Taxi, Taxi Activo, and Cooperative Eddy Taxis.

Is Monterrey Mexico safe for American Tourists? Risk Level: Moderate

Monterrey is overall safe for U.S. citizens. In recent years, there is no notable case was reported regarding travelers from America. However, its state Nuevo León could be dangerous as it has many areas such as El Carmen or Los Ramones that could have potentially severe dangers.

Is Monterrey Mexico safe for American tourists

Therefore, the US government has issued a level 2 travel advisory for its citizens. They are asked to exercise increased caution while traveling to the state due to crime and kidnapping. So, when you plan a trip to Monterrey, be sure to check the most recent travel warnings and get the latest news.

How Safe is Monterrey at Night? Risk Level: High

During the night, Monterrey can be dangerous. In fact, Numbeo shows that the Safety index for walking alone at night in Monterrey is just 38.1. That is low and means that it is not safe to travel around Monterrey at night. Especially for tourists as they don’t have a sense of familiarity with the city. For a worry-free drinking experience, head to San Pedro Garza Garcia or Barrio Antiguo.

When it comes to safety, never venture out at night unless you are in one of the designated safe zones, such as the city center. Avoid doing things like trying to walk intoxicated back to your hotel, leaving your drink unattended, and cutting corners in low-light areas.

The Safest Places in Monterrey

San Pedro Garza Garcia and Santa Catarina, two suburbs of Monterrey, have distinct characteristics when it comes to safety. Additionally, the city center is quite secure as well. Have a look at what makes them safe in detail:

The Safest Places in Monterrey
  1. San Pedro Garza Garcia: San Pedro Garza Garcia, sometimes called Monterrey’s Beverly Hills, with a crime index of just 20.5, is a secure neighborhood. Its position as one of Mexico’s richest municipalities means more resources allocated to public safety.
  2. Santa Catarina: Santa Catarina is one of the Monterrey suburbs that has its distinct safety profile. It has beautiful beaches such as Lagoinha do Leste, Vermelha Beach, and Santa Cruz de Anhatomirim Fortress.
  3. Monterrey Downtown area: The downtown area of Monterrey is one of the safest places in Monterrey. Colonial and contemporary architecture coexist in this complex. When it comes to nightlife and entertainment, Centro is your best bet. A large number of eateries, nightclubs, and museums such as the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame and the Museo Metropolitano are found here.

General Safety Precautions For Your Protection in Monterrey, Mexico

If you are planning to visit Monterrey, you should follow these SOPs to get the most out of your visit to the city:

  1. Travel insurance: A decent policy will cover car expenses up to $300,000 and other unforeseen events like lost or stolen luggage, repatriation, and outdoor activities like trekking. When you need help in Mexico, the first thing they will ask for is your policy number, so write it down. The notable insurance companies include Monterrey Insurance Computax or MexInsurance.
  2. Recreational drugs: If you are in Monterrey, avoid dealing with drugs. This is because the area had a moderately bad reputation for people who deal with and use drugs, with a Numbeo index of 46.6. If you get caught with drugs, especially heroin or cocaine, you may get a prison sentence of up to 6 years.
  3. Police officer scam: There have been many personal anecdotes regarding scams run by fake and real police officers. They stop you and hold on to your passports or any other I.D. and refuse to return them until you pay them a bribe. The key to avoiding this is to ask for their badge number and other proof of them being a real police officer.
  4. Driving at night: Driving at night is dangerous since as a tourist you will not be familiar with many areas. Furthermore, Monterrey has been identified as unsafe to traverse at night by data from Numbeo, whether on foot or in a car. The reason is that you are much more prone to theft as carjacking is quite common in the city.
  5. Follow local news and safety tips: To prevent getting in trouble with the authorities or even being arrested, familiarise yourself with the local laws and customs before you go. For more information on the regulations of Monterrey, please refer to the travel website of the State Department.
  6. Transportation services: Get on the bus or train by contacting the hotel ahead of time or placing an order online. A safe option is the Monterrey metro service. Uber is another safe option, as you will have access to your drivers’ details, Additionally, you can share your ride with a family member or friend so they can keep an eye on your whereabouts digitally.
  7. Natural attractions: In general, visitors may feel comfortable visiting Monterrey’s natural attractions, such as the Grutas de Garcia and the Parque Ecologico Chipinque. You should remain on well-marked paths or stick near your hotel or the main road if you must venture out.
  8. Emergency contacts and itinerary: Before leaving, share a copy of your itinerary with trustworthy individuals who can monitor your location. Maintain constant communication with your connections. Maintain a paper and computer list of emergency contacts like 911 for the fastest response, embassy numbers, and travel insurance information.

FAQ

Is it safe to walk in Monterrey Mexico?

Yes, it is safe to walk in Monterrey Mexico in daylight due to its high safety index of 79, as per Numbeo. Stick to well-populated areas and avoid walking at night.

Are Ubers in Monterrey safe?

Yes, Ubers in Monterrey are the safest way to travel. You can get access to your drivers’ information and you can share your ride and location with a family member so they can keep check on you. Remember that Uber may not be available in every part of the city.

Conclusion

Let’s revise, is Monterrey Mexico safe? It has a crime index of 48.3, which is considered moderate. Nevertheless, it has its share of trouble with criminal activity like cartel violence, theft, and fraud. You should stay away from areas like Solidaridad and Independencia to avoid cartel violence and drug dealers. For the best travel experience, go to places like San Pedro Garza Garcia and the city center to try out some of the city’s best eateries and nightclubs in complete safety.

Getting around Monterrey is generally safe, as public transport is efficient and not subject to much danger. However, I would recommend you travel by Uber as it is the safest option. Do not drive around at night due to the low safety index of 38.1. Also, stay in well-populated tourist areas, have reputable travel insurance, and under any circumstances, do not use recreational drugs.