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Is Tijuana Safe For Travelers in 2024? Detailed Tijuana Crime Stats and Safety Precautions

Is Tijuana safe for tourists in 2024? Tijuana is one of the largest cities in the Baja California state, with a population of 2,297,216, as per World Population Review. This urban area is famous for its beautiful attractions such as Jardines Playas de Tijuana coastal community and 1,045 acres of ecological reserve Parque Morelos. Despite its charming places, it is also known as one of the most violent cities. For example, it has a high crime index of 72.11, according to Numbeo.

So the question is Tijuana worth visiting or not? Continue reading to learn about the common crimes of the area such as the presence of drug cartels, cases of kidnappings, and the occurrence of petty thefts. Moreover, uncover which bad neighborhoods you should avoid and which you can visit easily. Let’s take a deep dive into it!

Is Tijuana Mexico Safe to Visit in 2024 – Key Takeaways

  1. Cartel Violence Risk – HIGH
  2. Kidnappings Risk – MEDIUM
  3. Fraud Risk – MEDIUM
  4. Petty Theft Risk – HIGH
  5. Level of Danger When Driving – HIGH
  6. Level of Danger in Buses – MEDIUM
  7. Level of Danger in Taxi – MEDIUM
  8. Level of Danger at Night – HIGH
  9. Level of Danger on the BeachMEDIUM
  10. Areas Requiring Caution –  Zona Norte, Camino Verde
  11. Safe Places – Playas de Tijuana, Zona Centro, Zona Rio
  12. Crime in Tijuana 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.






Quintana Roo




Quintana Roo








 Baja California Sur




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Quintana Roo









Baja California


Travelers should remain on main highways and avoid remote locations. Of particular concern is the high number of homicides in the non-tourist areas of Tijuana.US Department of State

Why Is Tijuana So Dangerous? 4 Crimes in Tijuana, Baja California

This border city of Mexico, Tijuana is the heart of Baja California. In fact, it is an important business center for all of North America. However, as per the 2023 report of the Mexican government, there were 121,065 crimes reported in Baja California. And with 18,518 crimes reported in January 2024 so far as per the Observatory of Criminal Incidence, making it one of the most dangerous states in Mexico.

Crimes in Tijuana

If specifically discussing Tijuana City, the number of reported crimes was 33,380 in 2023 and 5,679 in 2024 as per the Interactive Observatory of Criminal Incidence. The number of homicides was 1671 from March 2023 to February 2024, according to Elcri.

Crimes in Tijuana

Considering such stats, let me share an in-depth analysis of common crimes in the city that will help you make a traveling decision.

Risk of Cartel Violence – High

The U.S. State Department has recommended to reconsider travel to the state of Baja California. One particular reason is the high number of homicides in the non-tourist areas of Tijuana city due to cartel activity.

Crimes in Tijuana

Global Guardian mentions the following are the most active gangs in Mexico City:

  1. CDS (Sinaloa Cartel);
  2. CJNG (Jalisco New Generation Cartel);
  3. The Tijuana Cartel.
Risk of Cartel Violence in Tijuana

The report of the Interactive Observatory of Crime Incidence, Mexico tells the total reported homicides in Tijuana were 137 in January and 143 in February 2024. One such incident was the murder of 6 policemen who caught a large shipment of the cartel’s cocaine, as per Vice News.

Moreover, if I go back in time, Courier Journal’s 2023 report mentions the turf war between CJNG and CDS and the threats to the officials. These activities combined hurt the city’s peace and tourism.

Risk of Kidnappings – Moderate

According to the U.S. State Department, U.S. citizens have been victims of kidnapping in Tijuana. While kidnappings are not as commonplace as homicides, in 2023, there were 2 loud cases:

  1. Migrant kidnappings: Fox 5 reported that people were kidnapped from migrant shelters in Tijuana. They were held for a $15,000 ransom and were threatened with being killed if they did not receive the money.
  2. Jesús Cárdenas kidnapping: Another recent incident saw the kidnapping and death of famous Mexican singer Jesús Cárdenas. The San Diego Union-Tribune reported that the victim’s body was found handcuffed on a stretch of the Rosarito to Tijuana highway. Unfortunately, the authorities were not able to catch the perpetrators.
Risk of Kidnappings in Tijuana

Data per the Interactive Observatory of Crime Incidence show that cases of kidnappings halved from 12 in 2022 to 6 in 2023. However, the number again rose to 4 kidnappings as of February 2024. This means that the risk is not mitigated. For your safety, you must adhere strictly to the regional police regulations.

Risk of Fraud – Moderate

While traveling around in Tijuana, you might come across seemingly friendly locals who will try to trick and scam you. Last year in Baja California, the Government of Mexico reported that 3,753 crimes related to fraud were committed. Allow me to present a list of common scams that take place in Tijuana:

Scams to Watch Out for in Tijuana
  1. Bird poop scam: When someone tosses some white paste at your shoulder while you’re strolling through Tijuana, your first instinct is to look up, believing it to be bird droppings. Suddenly a “friendly” local will come up and will offer to help clean you up while cursing at the birds. While this is going on, their accomplices will sneakily pickpocket you without you knowing.
  2. Tour guides: Make sure you only work with certified tour guides at all times. False guides don’t have the right credentials to work. Maybe, you will end up paying less but you will not get anywhere near the best experience. You could also be at risk of kidnappings if your guide does not have the correct awareness of which areas to avoid.
  3. ATM Helper: In Tijuana, someone tries to assist you in skipping the bank fees by approaching you at an ATM. In reality, they are carrying a card skimmer to steal your financial information by scanning your credit or debit card as you input your PIN. When your card is declined at an ATM, they may approach you in an attempt to assist you, which is another variation of this common fraud. When typing your PIN, keep your other hand above the keypad.

Risk of Petty Theft – High

Petty crime such as pickpocketing and extortion is unfortunately a big problem in Baja California as a whole. In 2023, Baja California had reported 33,458 theft crimes by the Mexican Government. This risk also extends to Tijuana.

Risk of Petty Theft in Tijuana

Stats from Numbeo state that property crimes in Tijuana such as vandalism and theft have a very high crime index of 80.16 while the index for being mugged or robbed is a high 73. Considering these concerning stats, it is wise to take precautions such as not carrying more than $100 – $200 (as dollars are accepted in the city) and showing off your valuables.

Avoiding the Bad Areas in Tijuana

When you visit Tijuana, being mindful of your surroundings is a great practice. Have a set plan and a clear idea of your destinations. The reason is that while some of the touristy areas of Tijuana are moderately safe, the non-tourist areas are quite dangerous and are responsible for many of the homicides committed in the city. Let’s take a look at 2 areas you should avoid in Tijuana:

Bad Areas to Avoid in Tijuana

1. Zona Norte

Zona Norte is a border town in Tijuana. It is also known as the ‘Zone of Tolerance’ since many crimes here go unpunished. This region between Tijuana’s downtown and the US border barrier is known as the red light district.

There are a lot of brothels, addicts, and muggers that live in this dangerous neighborhood. Furthermore, in July 2023, a man was arrested for strangling a prostitute as reported by authorities.

2. Camino Verde

Verde is not a place for tourists. This is the southeast side of the Libremiento Sur neighborhood. A high crime rate, lack of a strong police force presence, and a reputation for gang violence characterize this impoverished area.

Camino Verde was the most violent neighborhood in Tijuana, with 75 homicides in the area alone in recent years according to the Global Initiative. Repurposed materials form the basis of many of the houses.

Is Tijuana Dangerous? A Comprehensive Guide To Transportation

The 2 most known public transport options are taxis and buses in Tijuana. Additionally, you can also choose to drive a car yourself. Let’s dive into more details on the safety concerns regarding transportation in Tijuana.

Is it Safe to Drive in Tijuana Mexico? High Risk

Driving yourself can be a great way to explore the city. You can venture out to the beaches of Playas de Tijuana or head out to the wine country. However, there are some facts to keep in mind. Tijuana has a high crime index of 70.6 for worries of your car getting stolen and 77.4 for worries of items being stolen from your car.

Is it Safe to Drive in Tijuana Mexico

Also, according to the National Citizen Observatory, a total of 6,422 acts of vehicle theft were recorded in the city in 2023. Until February 2024 the value was 1,201, which is very high. Those unfamiliar with Tijuana’s driving laws and traffic patterns may find the experience a little intimidating. Moreover, you should be ready for unexpected bumps and potholes because the roads in Tijuana aren’t always in the best condition.

Safety in Buses in Tijuana – Moderate Risk

The vast majority of people travel on buses as they are generally considered a safer method of transportation in Tijuana. There was a big surge in robberies on public transport per the National Citizen Observatory. They increased from 10 in 2022 to 40 in 2023. Furthermore, 10 cases have been reported as of February 2024.

Safety in Buses in Tijuana
Credit:, @mexicoachshuttle

While 40 might not be a big number over a year, you should still be alert to your environment and maintain a careful check on your possessions. Furthermore, travel only on the safest and most reputable buses. The following are some established bus services:

  1. Mexicoach: Mexicoach has been a trusted bus company since 1955 operating throughout Tijuana.
  2. Blue and White: The main bus line in Tijuana is made up of the ‘Blue and White’ buses which cost 11.50 pesos for a ticket.

Safety in Taxis in Tijuana – Moderate Risk

Taxis are also a common way to travel in Tijuana. They are considered to be less safe than buses. If local cab drivers recognize you as a tourist, they may try to charge you more than the going rate since they assume you won’t know how much to pay. Conversely, express kidnappings are an issue in Tijuana generally. There have also been reports of cab drivers drugging and robbing their customers.

Nonetheless, here are a couple of reputable taxi services that will provide you with a safe experience:

Reputable taxi services in Tijuana
  1. Taxi Libre: Taxi Libre taxis often have running meters, thus they’re the best option for travelers who aren’t from the area. Your fare will always be exactly what the meter reads when you use Taxi Libre.
  2. Uber: Some taxi drivers were upset when Uber first arrived in Tijuana, but now it’s completely safe to use the service. Since Uber tracks your route, many now think it’s safer than using a cab in Tijuana. Because scammers would face suspension from the Uber platform, it’s unlikely they would attempt to defraud you. It is also cheaper than using traditional taxis.

How Safe is Tijuana at Night? High Risk

According to Numbeo, Tijuana has a safety index of just 22.2 when it comes to walking around at night. That is considered as low. There is always a high risk of being attacked the second you venture beyond the zones that are well-lit and police-patrolled.

You must possess a keen awareness of your surroundings if you intend to stroll about Tijuana. Keep your hands off your valuable belongings and stay in crowded areas as much as possible.

How Secure Are the Beaches in Tijuana? Moderate Risk

There are a lot of beaches in Mexico that have a bad reputation for being dangerous. While the beaches are relatively safer from violent crimes, visitors should avoid swimming on Tijuana’s beaches due to harmful bacteria in the water.

Important! Five locations along the Tijuana shoreline were routinely tested for water pollution, and the findings were consistently positive.

The beaches in Tijuana were declared safe by the authorities, but experts have disagreed:

  1. Environmentalist Fernanda Rocha warns against swimming or walking on the beach due to the bacteria-filtering properties of the sand.
  2. She claims that doing so can lead to a variety of health concerns, including rashes, gastrointestinal distress, and ear infections.
How Secure Are the Beaches in Tijuana

When it comes to marine life, shark sightings are unusual in Tijuana and often happen farther out to sea. On the other hand, a surfer’s leg was bitten by a hammerhead shark in 2009. Fortunately, no other shark attack has been reported in Tijuana, mainly due to the diligence of the local authorities. They will issue advisories or temporary beach closures if there is any rise in shark activity.

Visit Tijuana’s Safest Places

While Tijuana can be quite dangerous, it is also worth mentioning some areas of Tijuana are quite safe for tourists. The beaches of Playas de Tijuana, the bustling Zona Centro, and the fashionable nightlife of Zona Rio are 3 such places. Let’s explore them in detail:

Safe Tijuana Locations to Visit

1. Playas de Tijuana

You can see some amazing paintings adorning the massive US-Mexico border line that separates the United States and Mexico at Friendship Park and the Playas de Tijuana beach, where visitors may strike up conversations with those on the other side of the border. It attracts a lot of tourists and is one of the safest spots in the city.

2. Zona Centro

Zona Centro, also known as downtown Tijuana, is the city center. The main tourist strip, Revolucion Avenue, is included in it and is the hub to experience Mexican culture. Numerous stores, pubs, and restaurants, many of which cater to visitors, line Revolucion for around eight blocks.

It also has numerous American stores such as 7-Eleven and Burger King as well. While visiting Tijuana, this is what the majority of tourists encounter.

3. Zona Rio

Located amid trendy Tijuana’s middle class, the Zona Rio is a hotspot for restaurants, nightlife, and retail therapy. The Paseo de los Héroes, a broad, divided, and often quite busy roadway, dominates it.

Circuses adorned with monumental statues of heroes stand at the Paseo de los Héroes’s main crossroads. Plaza Rio, one of Baja California’s major malls is also located here. There are several restaurants, shops, movie theaters, and department stores in the mall.

Tijuana Plaza Rio

General Safety Precautions For Your Protection in Tijuana, Mexico

Staying safe in the Mexican city of Tijuana requires your best judgment and apply common sense. Here are some important safety tips to keep in mind when you’re out and about in the city.

  1. Travel insurance: A good insurance coverage will pay for medical bills up to $300,000. It also covers things like repatriation, lost or stolen luggage, outdoor activities like hiking, and other unexpected situations. Remember to write down your policy number since it will be requested first when you need assistance in Mexico. MexInsurance is one reputable insurance company that you can trust.
  2. Recreational drugs: The New Generation Tijuana Cartel dominates Tijuana so you’re likely to come across several drug dealers and users. The crime index for dealing and using drugs in Tijuana is very high at 80. Avoid being involved with drug dealers and buying narcotics.
  3. Driving at night: Since you are a visitor, you won’t know your way around many regions, making nighttime driving risky. Carjackings are rampant in Tijuana, making you a prime target for thieves.
  4. Follow local news and safety tips: Get to know the local laws and traditions before you arrive to avoid getting in trouble or even arrested. Please visit the State Department’s travel website for further details regarding the restrictions in Baja California as well as Tijuana.
  5. Transportation services: Make your bus reservation in advance by calling the hotel or going online. You may also use Uber, which is a secure alternative because you can see the drivers’ identities. Another perk is letting someone else digitally track your journey with you.
  6. Stay in tourist areas: Remain on well-marked paths or stick near your hotel or the main road if you must venture out. Never go off on your own in a dark or unknown place. Joining a group or gathering in a crowded place is always a good idea. Areas like Zona Centro and Playas de Tijuana are some safe spots.
  7. Emergency contacts and itinerary: Give reliable people a copy of your itinerary before you go so they can keep an eye on your whereabouts. Be sure to stay in regular contact with your connections. Keep both a paper and digital record of important numbers, including emergency contacts (such as 911 for the quickest response), embassy contact information, and travel insurance details.


Is it safe for tourists to go to Tijuana?

No, it is not safe for tourists to go to Tijuana. According to Numbeo, the safety index is only 27.89% which is considered low.

Where to avoid in Tijuana?

You should avoid going to Zona Norte and Camino Verde. There is a lot of gang activity and violent crimes in these areas.

Is it worth going to Tijuana from San Diego?

It is worth going to Tijuana from San Diego as both cities function basically as twin cities. There are a lot of fun activities like dining and sightseeing. You can visit Tijuana for a few hours and still make it back to downtown San Diego.

Is it safe to take an Uber in Tijuana?

Yes, it is safe to take an Uber in Tijuana. Uber provides you with all the details of your driver. It also allows you to send a link to a close friend so they can monitor your location and ride details.

Is Tijuana safe for females?

Tijuana carries risks for females as the number of femicides in 2023 was 10 as per Semaforo. Females should avoid sketchy areas and travel in groups.


Let’s revise, is Tijuana Mexico safe? It has a crime index of 72.1, which is considered high. It has its share of trouble with criminal activity like cartel violence, theft, and fraud. Already, 18,518 crimes have been committed in Baja California and 5,679 in Tijuana until February 2024. Getting around Tijuana can be dangerous, especially when driving yourself due to the high risk of carjacking. However, taxi services like Uber and Taxi Libre are the safest options.

You should stay away from areas like Zona Norte and Camino Verde to avoid cartel violence and drug dealers. For the best travel experience, go to places like Zona Rio and the city center to try out some of the city’s best eateries and shopping centers, like Plaza Rio, in complete safety.

Some vital tips such as staying in well-populated tourist areas, having reputable travel insurance, and having emergency contacts on speed dial will make your trip safer.