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Is Morelia Mexico Safe in 2024: Morelia Crime Statistics

Is Morelia Mexico safe? Morelia is an exciting place to explore in Mexico. The city is famous for its beautiful architecture and its rich cultural heritage. But how safe is it? Read on, and know what are the chances of running into cartels or being kidnapped. How secure is the transport system? Lastly, what safety measures should you practice? Let us begin!

Is Morelia Safe to Visit in 2024 – Key Takeaways

  1. Cartel Violence Risk – MEDIUM
  2. Kidnappings Risk –  MEDIUM
  3. Fraud Risk – HIGH
  4. Petty Theft Risk – MEDIUM
  5. Level of Danger When Driving –  MEDIUM
  6. Level of Danger in Buses – MEDIUM
  7. Level of Danger in Taxi – LOW
  8. Level of Danger at Night – HIGH
  9. Bad Areas – Outskirts of the city, Parking areas, Dark and isolated locations
  10. Safe Places – Santuario de Guadalupe, Benito Juarez Zoo, Historic Center
  11. Crime in Morelia 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.






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In Morelia, U.S. government employees may travel by air and land using Federal Highways 43 or 48D from Federal Highway 15D.U.S. Department of State

Is Morelia Mexico Safe in 2024: Morelia Mexico Crime Rate

Morelia is the capital of the central Mexican state of Michoacán. An official report by the Government of Mexico shows 47,853 crimes in Michoacan in 2023. December 2023 recorded 3,542, but in January 2024, the number increased to 4,010.

A report by Elcri derived using data from Police Investigations shows that there were 257 homicides in Morelia from March 2023 to February 2024 making it one of the most dangerous places in Mexico. According to Numbeo data, there has been a 63.73% crime increase in Morelia in the last three years.

Morelia Mexico Crime Rate

Though Morelia isn’t the safest city in Mexico, it is safer than others. Its crime index is 56.90 out of 100, which is relatively lower than that of Tijuana – 72.11.

Chances of Encountering Cartel Violence – Medium

Numbeo statistics show that Morelia has a 53.19% chance of people using or dealing drugs. Due to the rivalry between small drug cartels and larger ones as they compete for territory, the residents are the ones who are mostly affected by the brutal turf war.

Drug-related violence is common, and the government is forced to send troops for reinforcement purposes. The notorious cartels include:

  1. Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion (CJNG). It is one of the largest transactional cartels with branches in Mexico and US cities.
  2. Los Zetas, Gulf Cartel, and Juarez Cartel. These three are big transnational criminal organizations.
Chances of Encountering Cartel Violence in Morelia

The presence of cartel violence in Michoacan has had a devastating impact on local communities, particularly in Morelia city. Innocent civilians often get caught in the crossfire, leading to a significant number of deaths and injuries. The cartels also engage in extortion, kidnapping, and other criminal activities.

Tourists should remain vigilant and steer away from any drug-related activities. Please keep in mind that if you are found guilty of transporting, producing, trafficking, or supplying drugs, you will be sentenced to 10 to 25 years imprisonment.

Chances of Being Kidnapped – Medium

In 2023, Michoacán was put under travel advisory level 3 by the U.S. Department of State, meaning that travelers were urged to reconsider traveling here due to crimes and kidnapping. As per Semaforo numbers, Michoacan state had 23 kidnapping incidents in 2023, and there were two cases in January 2024. In Morelia, there were 6 kidnapping cases in 2023 and one incident in January 2024.

Kidnapping rate in Michoacán in 2023

If you are unfortunate enough to get kidnapped, just give the kidnappers your valuables so that they may spare your life. The Mexican law, however, is not lenient to kidnappers. If found guilty, they could spend up to 40 years behind bars.

Fraud Risk – High

The chances of being a victim of fraud and scams in Morelia are high. According to Semaforo, there was a concerning number of extortion cases at 118 with an 85% increase as of January 2024. According to the National Citizen Observatory, the extortion rate in Morelia in January 2024 was 1.06 per 100,000 people. This has decreased compared to December 2023, when the rate was 1.19.

Fraud risks can fall under two main categories:

Fraud Risk in Morelia

1. ATM and Credit card fraud: This is prevalent in Morelia and other major cities in Mexico. To reduce this and promote safety, you are advised to:

  • Always watch your debit/credit card when you hand it over for payment.
  • Ensure the card reader is legit and does not have any unusual features.
  • Go through your card statements to ensure there are no irregularities.
  • Ensure no third party sees the PIN you enter when making payments.
  • Always utilize ATMs found inside a bank or public areas.

2. Overcharging: This can occur in taxis or dining establishments. Before boarding a taxi, ensure you have talked with the driver and agreed on the amount you should pay for your trip. Also, ensure you settle for the exact amount indicated when dining.

Risk of Petty Crimes – Medium

Morelia is known for its stunning colonial architecture, such as the Centro Historico de Morelia. The city offers a safe destination for visitors compared to other areas within Michoacán. However, exercising caution and following any travel advisories is always advisable.

According to Numbeo, the risk of petty crime, such as bag snatching and getting mugged, is moderate (57.84%) in Morelia. Morelia is safer than other large cities, but bag snatching and pickpocketing cases are prevalent. Thieves are there to take advantage of innocent tourists and rob them.

Avoiding Bad Areas

As you have seen, Morelia is characterized by worrying crime rates, like murders and several drug cartel activities. According to the National Citizen Observatory, in 2023 for every 100,000 inhabitants, there were 1,814 crimes, an increase compared to 1,704 recorded in the previous year. Here are some areas you should avoid:

Bad Areas to Avoid in Morelia
  1. Outskirts of the city: You should avoid areas on the outskirts due to high crime rates, including incidents of kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery.
  2. Parking areas: Due to a lack of security cameras, unsecured parking is home to car thieves who eagerly wait for you to pack your vehicle. Avoid such parking at all costs.
  3. Dark and isolated locations: These areas pose potentially serious risk as they are often a target for criminals due to the reduced likelihood of witnesses or intervention. During late hours, more vulnerable to becoming victims of crimes such as theft, assault, or even murder. Always stick to well-lit and crowded places like populated tourist areas when navigating the city for personal safety.

2024 Transport Guide in Morelia

Which is safer, private or public transportation? You must decide which one you will use during your trip to Morelia. There is a wide variety of transport options available. Let us see how safe each one is.

Is it Safe to Drive in Morelia Mexico? Medium Risk

Driving to Morelia provides a unique opportunity to witness this historic city’s stunning architecture, vibrant markets, and picturesque landscapes. It’s risky to drive alone in Morelia. Cartel violence, traffic, and poor road conditions make driving unsafe. According to Numbeo, the overall criminal risk index associated with your car in Morelia is about 59-65.

Is it Safe to Drive in Morelia Mexico

According to the government travel advisory, visitors and U.S. government employees are advised not to travel to Michoacan due to crime and kidnapping. However, they can use air or federal highways.

Safety in Buses in Morelia – Medium Risk

Public transport in Morelia, like in many other cities, poses various risks such as theft and pickpocketing that passengers should be aware of. According to the National Citizen Observatory, there were 103 reported thefts in public transport in 2023 down from 180 in 2024. While the trajectory shows a decrease in theft in public transport, you should still be very careful.

Therefore, travel during daylight hours, avoid isolated areas at stations, and be aware of emergency exits to stay safe while commuting. Also, use buses from reputable companies in Morelia that are safe and comfortable to avoid losing your valuables especially when traveling long distances.

Available bus companies that are safe include:

Safe bus companies in Morelia
  • ETN Turistar– ETN is an ISO-certified line of luxury buses that offer quality transport services to passengers in Morelia.
  • Tornado Connections– This family business has been operating since 1993 and strives to provide a safe means of transport to its clients in Morelia.

If you value your personal space, you should opt for self-drive or taxis. Let’s examine how safe the taxis in Morelia are.

Safety in Taxis in Morelia – Low Risk

The safety in buses and taxis varies greatly. Taxis in Morelia are considered to be safe. If you opt for this mode, ensure that:

  • You only use registered taxis;
  • Avoid stopping unofficial taxis at night;
  • Negotiate and agree on the final price before getting into the taxi.
Safety in Taxis in Morelia

As much as taxis are safe, you must always monitor your belongings. Reliable taxis include:

  1. Uber – The Uber app offers a convenient and seamless experience by providing real-time tracking and cashless payments. This convenience has made ridesharing a popular choice for many individuals in Morelia.
  2. Didi – The company provides a convenient and cost-effective alternative to traditional taxi services, allowing users to request a ride with the tap of a button. Didi has gained significant popularity in Morelia due to its ease of use, no overcharge, and reliable service.

Is Morelia Safe at Night? – High Risk

According to Numbeo, the safety of walking alone during the night is low (32.69%). While it might be tempting to explore this stunning city and experience the local customs, tourists should refrain from doing so. At night, tourists should use registered taxis and not cabs they hail on the street.

Is Morelia Safe at Night

Safe Places to Explore in Morelia

The increase in crime in the past 3 years, according to Numbeo, is high (63.73%). However, this should not prevent you from visiting and exploring the city’s Acueducto de Morelia. Here are the safe sites you can see:

Safe Places to Explore in Morelia
  1. Santuario de Guadalupe: This stunning church is placed in the heart of Morelia’s historical center. It is a popular appeal for vacationers and locals alike. The vicinity around the church is generally safe, with many other historical buildings, restaurants, and shops.
  2. Benito Juarez Zoo: Did you know it’s miles a few of the high-quality zoos inside the USA? The zoo has a number of unusual animals, together with giraffes, lions, bears, and fish. Additionally, capabilities are a teaching journey. It is a perfect location to experience fine family time.
  3. Historic Center: It is a UNESCO World Heritage site recognized for its wealthy tradition. The vicinity is usually secure and properly policed, with many shops, restaurants, and museums to discover. Marvel at the Baroque structure and mix of Renaissance.

Basic Precautions to Curb Safety Concerns While in Morelia

From what’s discussed, you can see that Morelia is not the safest city in the country. However, by taking basic precautions and complying with the provisions in place, you can significantly reduce the risk of encountering dangerous situations. To mitigate potential risks associated with violent crime and enhance personal security, you need to consider taking precautions like:

1. Ensure you have travel insurance

Each traveler must have travel insurance. The customs officer will ask for it whenever you visit a foreign city. This will cover you if you are attacked, robbed, or in an accident. When it comes to finding reliable and comprehensive travel insurance coverage, stands out as a trusted provider. offers options that provide peace of mind and financial security during your visit.

2. Do not buy or sell drugs while in the country

It is illegal to buy, sell, or possess drugs in Morelia. You could serve up to 25 years imprisonment if found guilty of a drug-related crime.

3. Avoid navigating at night

Numbeo data states that it is unsafe to walk alone at night. The safety level is 32.69%. Due to the potential risks of crime, you should refrain from navigating at night and only use registered taxis if you must travel.

4. Do not drink tap water

While in Morelia, avoid drinking tap water, as it is unsafe for human consumption and can cause health issues. So, as you explore this beautiful city, remember to drink bottled water and not tap water.

5. Know the local laws

For Morelia to be a safe travel destination, you should be familiar with the local laws. Examples include:

  1. No smoking in all public places;
  2. You cannot drive without insurance;
  3. It is illegal to carry a firearm without a valid license.

6. Know the contacts of emergency services

In case you need emergency services, you must have their contacts. Crucial contacts include:

  1. Tourist Assistance: 078
  2. Emergency Services: 911
  3. Red Cross: 065
  4. Police emergency number: +52 443 113 5000

7. Be aware of the natural disasters

Keeping tabs on the natural disasters that occur in Morelia is critical. For example, a hurricane in Michoacán runs every year from May 15th to November 30th. The best period to visit the city is between December and April when the weather is comfortable. Be informed through local news, weather reports, and any announcements from local authorities regarding potential natural disasters.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is It Safe to Go to Morelia?

It is moderately safe to go to Morelia. Despite Numbeo’s Safety Index for Morelia being 43.10%, you can enjoy your time here if you exercise caution.

What Cartel Is in Morelia Michoacán?

The cartel in Morelia is the Cartel Jalisco Nueva Generacion. It is an organized crime syndicate and a Mexican drug cartel rapidly asserting its dominance as a formidable force within Michoacan. CJNG deals with an array of illicit activities ranging from drug trafficking and abduction to extortion.

What Is the Crime Rate in Morelia, Mexico?

According to Numbeo, the crime rate in Morelia is 66.84%, categorized as high. While Morelia is known for its rich history, culture, and architecture, residents and visitors alike need to be aware of the existing concerns in the city. By staying informed about the crime rate in Morelia, individuals can take necessary precautions to ensure their safety.

Is Morelia Safe for Solo Female Travelers?

No, Morelia is not safe for solo female travelers. They should be extra vigilant when visiting this city and avoid isolated streets, especially at night. It will not hurt to be extra cautious. According to Sefamoro, 26 rape cases and 2 femicide incidences have been reported as of January 2024.

What Are Some Safe and Popular Attractions in Morelia?

Some safe and popular attractions in Morelia include the Catedral de Morelia, the Aqueduct of Morelia, the Historic Center, and the Jardín de Las Rosas. There is also Santuario de Guadalupe, the Museo Casa Natal de Morelos, and Benito Juarez Zoo.


There you have it! Those are Morelia’s latest 2024 crime statistics. While Morelia has unique charms and attractions such as the Fuente de las Tarascas, the city is in zone 3. Like any other city in most countries, there is a risk of petty crime, such as theft and pickpocketing. In 2024, as of January, incidents of homicides reported were 115, extortion 38, vehicle theft 430, and family violence 476. While in 2023 homicide cases were 1233, extortion 230, vehicle theft 5148, and family violence 5581.

Unfortunately, the city has seen an increase in cartelization in recent years. The presence of cartels in the region poses a threat to the safety of residents and tourists alike. These criminal organizations engage in drug trafficking, extortion, and kidnapping. According to Numbeo, the Crime Index is 56.90%, while the Safety Index is 43.10%. The statistics show that Morelia is not the safest Mexican city.

Despite the quite high crime index, Morelia is worth visiting by taking safety measures. Some iconic places are the Aqueduct of Morelia, Catedral de Morelia, the Jardín de Las Rosas, and the Historic Center. Be mindful of your surroundings, use reliable transportation, keep your belongings secure, and stay informed about Morelia’s customs and traditions.