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Is Puebla Mexico Safe for Travelers In 2024? Updated Crime Rate

Is Puebla Mexico safe travel? Puebla is one of 32 states of Central Mexico, with various UNESCO-listed rich cultural heritage, such as the 1575 Cathedral or Chapel of Rosario. Similarly, Puebla city is also quite attractive to visitors with some of the finest cuisines and iconic Talavera pottery. Despite being so appealing, this state could be dangerous. Some of its common crimes are kidnapping and petty theft.

So how can you safely visit its worthwhile sites? Continue reading to find out about the good and the bad neighborhoods. Learn on how to save yourself from frauds like fake tourist guides or street vendors and more. Let’s dive into this Puebla travel guide!

Is Puebla Mexico Safe to Visit in 2024 – Key Takeaways

  1. Cartel Violence Risk – MEDIUM
  2. Kidnappings Risk – HIGH
  3. Fraud Risk – MEDIUM
  4. Petty Theft Risk – HIGH
  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 – Esperanza, Tehuitzingo, Guadalupe Hidalgo, San Martin Totoltepec Mexico City
  10. Safe Places – Cholula, Zocalo, Fuertes
  11. Crime in Puebla City 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

Сhihuahua

55.49

Quintana Roo

55.73

Morelia

Michoacan

56.90

Puebla

Puebla

58.23

Chihuahua

68.71

Baja California

71.99

  1. Number of crimes in the Puebla state compared to other states in Mexico:
Exercise increased caution due to violent crime and kidnapping. Criminal activity and violence may occur throughout the state. U.S. citizens and LPRs (Lawful Permanent Residents) have been victims of kidnapping. There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Puebla state.US Department of State

Crime in Puebla Mexico

The official Government of Mexico report shows that the total amount crimes in January 2024 was 6,586. This is moderate in comparison with other Mexican states. Ciudad de Mexico, for example, had 2.5 times as many crimes during the same period – 17,751.

Crime in Puebla Mexico
Credit: www.gob.mx

Now, if we go 1 year early, statistics are similar. For instance, the total registered offenses in the state were 77,244 in 2023 and Ciudad de Mexico has incidents of around 234,474.

If we specifically discuss Puebla Mexico City, the number of crimes reported in 2023 was 23,674, and 3,634 in 2024 as per the Interactive Observatory of Crime Incidence. Numbeo mentions that this city has a moderate safety index of 41.94%.

Let’s take a closer look at 4 common crimes in the state to understand the situation in detail.

1. Cartel Violence Risk – Moderate

Puebla has a moderate risk of cartel violence compared to other Mexican states. As per the Mexico Daily Post, the main cartel operating in Puebla is the Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG). The CJNG faces resistance from smaller local criminal groups, resulting in homicides, attacks, and clashes with security forces.

Cartel Violence Risk
Credit: www.globalguardian.com

On December 5, 2023, the New York Times reported that medical students were killed by the cartels. Moreover, the Security and Citizen Protection Secretary reports that the total number of homicides in the area in 2023 was 1,228, and in January 2024 – 90. If we look at the violent situation of Puebla city alone, there have been 16 homicides in 2024 so far, as per the report of Semaforo.

Note: Considering the overall situation, you need to opt for increased security measures.

2. Kidnapping Risk – High

Kidnapping affects both locals and foreigners in Puebla, often for ransom, extortion, or intimidation. As per Poblanerias Puebla stands at 8th number in terms of kidnappings in Mexico in 2022. According to the Security and Citizen Protection Secretary in 2023 the total number of kidnappings in the state was 216 and in January 2024 – 3 abductions.

Kidnapping Risk

Express kidnapping” is most common, involving abducting someone for a short time to withdraw cash from an ATM. Other schemes include:

  1. “Virtual kidnapping”, deceiving people into believing a friend or relative is kidnapped.
  2. “High-impact kidnapping” of wealthy individuals for large ransoms.

Another interesting aspect is the high rate of hijacking of cargo in the state. As per a heedful analysis by Forbes, there have been 2,533 hijackings in the area in 2023. This number is 44% more than the previous year.

Looking at the kidnapping risk of Puebla capital, there were only 3 incidents in 2023, Semaforo mentions. No abduction-related cases were reported in 2024 till now.

3. Fraud Risk – Moderate

The fraud risk is moderate in Puebla Mexico. The Security and Citizen Protection Secretary of Mexico released stats in 2023, which mentioned the total reported frauds in the state were 4,544.

You may experience the following potential scams in the state as well as the capital:

Fraud Risk
  1. Fake tour guides: You may see criminals that pose as fake tours, especially in the city center. They can do express kidnapping on you or charge very high fares by trapping you.
  2. Unlicensed or fake taxis robbing passengers: Criminals may disguise themselves as taxi drivers. They may ask for exorbitant fares, rob you by taking at remote locations, or extort money from you.
  3. Street vendor scams like selling counterfeit products: Street vendors try to sell you fake or low-quality products like fake pottery or mock-up jewelry. They can also use aggressive or deceptive tactics to pressure you into buying their products.
  4. Fake Police Officers: Apart from tour guides, scammers may use fake police uniforms in the capital to ask for identification and bribes. Don’t hand over your crucial details to them before asking for a verified badge.
Important! More scams are reported between March and July, considered high-visiting months. To prevent fraud, follow measures like buying from trusted sources at cultural events, using vigilant ATMs, and getting only registered taxis.

4. Petty Theft Risk – High

Theft poses one of the highest risks in crowded and tourist areas of Puebla like public transportation hubs, markets, and monuments. The most commonly stolen items are wallets, purses, phones, cameras, and jewelry.

The following numbers can give you a clear idea of the theft-related risk in both Puebla State and Puebla City:

  1. The total reported theft cases in 2023 were 23,396 in the state, according to a report by the Security and Citizen Protection Secretary. This includes theft both with and without violence.
  2. Numbeo data also supports this fact. It pictures the overall crime index related to theft as around 67.25% in Puebla capital. This number is fairly high.
  3. Even if we go 2 years back, the Statista report also claims that robberies were the highest crimes of the state in 2022. These had a 43.8% share of all offenses.
  4. The National Citizen Observatory reports that a total of 3927 people on the road were looted in 2023.
Petty Theft Risk

Taking precautions keeping personal belongings secure and staying active against pickpockets in crowded tourist areas with crossbody bags can prevent you from these thefts.

Bad Areas to Avoid in Puebla

Some areas in Puebla state have a bad reputation because of crime-related things. If you are planning to visit the state, you need to know these places and avoid them:

  1. Esperanza: It is one of those cities of Puebla that has the highest crimes in Puebla. The National Citizen Observatory mentions that Esperanza had 2853 incidences per 100,000 inhabitants in 2023. The most prominent crimes include homicides, street frauds, as well as kidnappings
  2. Tehuitzingo: This is an area of concern in Puebla due to social deficiencies. It has a very high homicide rate of 123.7 with a total of 15 kills last year for a population of 12,129, as of Elcri. Moreover, factors like deprivation of social security, lack of basic services, and educational backwardness also contribute to an increase in crimes.
  3. Guadalupe Hidalgo: This place is prone to violence, theft, and vandalism due to high traffic from the nearby highway. Your chances of falling for the victim are 1 in 1604, as of Elcri. Visiting it during the daytime in a group or leaving it is advisable.
  4. San Martin Totoltepec Mexico City: This small city of Puebla portrays a whooping homicide rate of 603.3, according to Elcri. Out of a population of 663, 4 persons have died in 2023. Furthermore, you should be cautious of the danger of express kidnappings and street fraud.

You can learn more about crime rates in the Puebla state by city in the map below:

Bad Areas to Avoid in Puebla
Credit: www.delitosmexico.onc.org.mx

Now, if you want to look at the bad areas of the Puebla capital, look at this list:

  1. Ignacio Romero Vargas Auxiliary Board: This area is notorious for domestic violence and femicides. For example, one women were killed by her ex-partner in 2022, as per the report of Municipios Puebla. Further, you also need to be aware of drug-related cartels in this place.
  2. Auxiliary Board of San Sebastian de Aparicio: San Sebastian de Aparicio is notorious for homicides. There were 7 reported deaths two years back, El Sol de Puebla mentions. Apart from these, you may face street crimes like robbery or express kidnappings.

3 Factor-based Puebla Transport Guide

If you are in Puebla, you have to take public transportation to get yourself familiar with the local culture. You get the option of both private and public transportation. The following points highlight the mobility-related risks of the Puebla state and the capital: 

1. Is Puebla City Safe to Drive Mexico – Moderate Risk

Overall, driving in Puebla is moderately risky as crime-related was reported in the near past. However, a notable thing is that mugging or theft while driving is common, especially with jewelry or watches. For instance, there have been 767 vehicle theft incidents in 2024 in the state, as per the National Citizen Observatory.

Is Puebla City Safe to Drive Mexico

Numbeo also mentions that there is a high risk of car mugging or car theft with an overall crime index of 54-69% in Puebla city. Moreover, you may experience high traffic during peak hours, which makes it hard to freely room in the city.

2. Safety in Buses in Puebla – Moderate Risk

Personal safety in buses in Puebla is generally not as good as that of private traveling. The reported theft cases in public transportation in Puebla state were 1,112 in 2023, and 194 in 2024 as per the Interactive Observatory of Crime Incidence.

Further, if we discuss the capital’s stats, 864 public transport robbery cases were reported in 2023 and 158 as of February 2024. These stats indicate that the capital is more prone to dangers related to public transportation.

Although some of the incidents were catered by the Police, you still need to be cautious. But, bus management often takes precautionary safety concerns such as using safe roads, online surveillance, or hiring personal guards. The prominent public transportation in the area are:

Safety in Buses in Puebla
  1. ADO;
  2. OCC;
  3. AU.

Busbud is another online organization where you can book online tickets and enjoy a hassle-free travel experience.

3. Personal Safety in Taxis in Puebla – Low Risk

Both Puebla city and the state are quite safe when it comes to traveling via taxis. However, ensure that you get only travel via licensed taxis with a “TAXI” tab on its roof. The prominent taxi services in the area are:

  1. Taxi Vial;
  2. Euro Taxi Puebla;
  3. Taxi Express.
Safety in Taxis

You can even get Uber, which is more secure as it uses online navigation and keeps a record of each travel. Moreover, don’t forget to take normal precautionary measures like checking the driver’s identity and confirming the fare beforehand. 

Is Puebla Safe at Night? – High Risk

Puebla state is generally not safe at night, because crime increases when the dark comes. And for solo female travelers, don’t even think about going out at night. Apart from dangerous cities like Esperanza or Tehuitzingo, the main city is also not safe.

Is Puebla Safe at Night

For example, the safety of walking alone during the night is low, with Numbeo mentioning the safety index being 36.52 for Puebla city. Moreover, the state also has a high rate of theft and armed robbery, resulting in a total of 6,586 crimes as of 2024.

Safe Places to Visit in Puebla

If you are in Puebla state, I have listed some famous and major cities in the state that can make your visit worthwhile. Explore them below:

  1. Cholula: It is a popular tourist town famous for its Great Pyramid and known for its churches, markets, and nightlife. Since this state is quite safe, you can explore it during both the day and night.
  2. Zocalo: Puebla’s main square, the Zocalo features an impressive cathedral, beautiful colonial architecture, and other cultural events. Well-lit and patrolled by police, You can visit the Zocalo, and its surrounding restaurants, cafes, and shops safely at any time.
  3. Fuertes: This nearby town or area contains the Loreto and Guadalupe forts from the famous 1862 Battle of Puebla. It is recommended that you visit the planetarium and museum during the daytime in this city.

As for the capital of the state, Puebla City has the following safe places:

Safe Places to Visit in Puebla
  1. City center (Centro Histórico): It is the beating heart of Puebla city. You can wander in cobblestone streets lined with beautiful 16th, 17th-century churches and lively markets. This historic center has been recognized in the World Heritage List by UNESCO.
  2. Fuertes Area: This area is known for its impressive forts including Fort Loreto and Fort Guadalupe. From these castles, you can enjoy the panoramic views of the city. Another main highlight of the place is green spaces like Parque Ecológico, offering a beautiful escape.
  3. Atlixco: A neighborhood of Puebla, this place offers beautiful gardens, facades, and a relaxed ambiance. You can come and enjoy the local markets here and take in the scenic views. Don’t forget to enjoy cuisines like Chiles en Nogada from the food street.

Safety Tips for Puebla

Heed these safety tips to ensure your journey in Puebla, Mexico, is an enjoyable and secure one. Consideration of these points is necessary:

  1. Guard your property: Keep alert of your surroundings and keep personal belongings close while passing through crowded places or touristy areas where theft cases are common.
  2. Avoid strangers: Turn down any drinks that are given to you by somebody you do not know. Refrain from excessive drinking of alcoholic beverages; do not get involved in any illegal activities.
  3. Get insured: In case something bad happens to you in Puebla, a complete insurance plan can be a financial safety net for you. Look for this cover from reputable firms such as Grupo Nacional Provincial (GNP) or AXA Seguros.
  4. Use approved vehicles: Watch out for unlicensed taxis because they can cause accidents, robbery, and overcrowding. Rather choose licensed cabs with meters, negotiate fees upfront or try out carpooling applications like Uber instead.
  5. Move around in safe areas: Stay in the well-patrolled, tourist-friendly historic center where most attractions, hotels, and restaurants are located· Avoid city outskirts or traveling alone. Make sure that you travel to safe areas of the state such as Fuertes, Barrio del Artista, and Cholula.
  6. Carry money belts for valuables: Consider concealed money belts or pouches like Travelon RFID pouch while going out on day trips to protect your cash or other documents. Just carry a little sum of about 2000 – 3000 pesos in your wallet.
  7. Be watchful at all times: Be always vigilant about what is happening around you· To the police, report any suspicious or criminal behavior witnessed. When it comes to emergencies they can be immediately reached through their hotline numbers like 911 for general emergency services and 078 for Puebla Tourism Hotline.

FAQ

Is Puebla Mexico Safe for Americans?

Puebla Mexico is moderately safe for Americans as the U.S. travel advisory mentions that its citizens have been victims of kidnappings in the past. As of 2024, there have been 6,586 crimes reported in the state as per the government of Mexico. Also, Puebla City has a moderate safety index with a crime score of 58.06%.

Is Puebla Safe to Walk at Night?

No, Puebla is not safe to walk at night. The Numbeo safety score for walking alone at night is around 35.52, which is low. Moreover, you may fall to unwanted robbery, express kidnapping, or fraud scam.

What is the crime rate in Puebla Mexico?

The crime rate index of Puebla Mexico is 58.23, which is fairly moderate stated by Numbeo. Moreover, the Government of Mexico mentions that the total reported crimes in the state were around 77,244 in 2023.

Is Downtown Puebla Safe?

Downtown Puebla is relatively safe as the risk of cartel violence or kidnappings is almost zero here. However, it is not without risks as you may fall for pickpocketing or mugging.

Conclusion

Let’s revise is Puebla Mexico safe? Puebla state is moderately safe with the crime score being around 77,244 in 2023 and 6,586 in 2024, as per the Mexican government. The city capital, Puebla has also a moderate safety index of 41.77. The notable crimes of the area are cartel offenses, kidnappings, frauds, and petty thefts.

The U.S. State Department has issued a level 2 advisory, mentioning that visitors should exercise increased caution due to high crime and kidnapping. If you are visiting this state, avoid areas like Esperanza, Tehuitzingo, or Ignacio Romero Vargas in Puebla capital due to their bad reputation. Instead, you can go to places like Cholula, Zocalo, or Atlixco in Puebla to enhance your trip experience.

The famous activities include visiting the art galleries, exploring the culture, and enjoying the local delicious cuisine. Moreover, exercise caution like getting insurance, avoiding strangers, solo traveling, and using registered transport options. If you sense any danger, you can contact the officials via these emergency numbers.