I absolutely feel that San Miguel de Allende is a safe place where I’m comfortable raising my kids and operating completely overtly. I don’t ever feel as though the crime wave that’s plagued Mexico has affected San Miguel de Allende.
San Miguel de Allende is an interesting town in that you go 50 miles in any direction and you’re in completely rural Mexico where there are bigger cities sprinkled around. We live in an agricultural part of the country, and San Miguel de Allende is an oasis all on its own, so it really has to be measured with a different stick than everywhere else in Mexico, which is good for it when it comes to real estate prices and things like that. Wealthy Mexicans enjoy San Miguel de Allende just as much as foreigners do.
I feel safe in San Miguel de Allende. In the US, Mexico, and everywhere, there are too many guns circulating- it’s one of the great tragedies of our times. Safety is such a subjective issue. Do I think that I could get my briefcase stolen in the street? It could happen anywhere. It could happen in California, in Miami, or anywhere. Do I feel as though I can walk around and be completely indiscrete with the way I behave? No. I always try to be as modest as possible. If you keep yourself out of foolish situations for the most part, like walking down the street at three in the morning with a Rolex on, which clients of mine do, and which I definitely think is a bad idea. When you live in the Third World, you should always try to be as understated as possible with belongings.
You have to always remember no matter where you came from that Mexico still has an underclass that’s earning very little- almost less than what can feed them. There will be a lot of disappointed people, and since you have a lot of migration to the United States where people are making $10-$20 per hour for work that they would do here for $3 or $2 per hour, one can certainly be disappointed by that and look for a new line of work- crime.
I feel safe in San Miguel de Allende, and my clients also feel safe. The only crime that I have heard of are rural houses that got broken into. I always think that it’s good to have a dog. I think that you should always be aware of the fact that you’re not in Kansas anymore. You’re in a different place.
If you’re light-skinned and have light eyes, you look different, and you definitely need to always be alert. You wouldn’t want to get too much to drink and then walk home in the morning. I think it’s like that in most places.
When I lived in Florida and in Texas, most of my life consisted of getting in a car and going from here to there. I wasn’t walking around streets, or brushing shoulders with people I didn’t know. When you live in San Miguel de Allende and you walk around town, you get to know the town very quickly, and you get to see a lot more faces when you’re walking rather than driving.
I haven’t lived in the States for long, so it’s really hard for me to have an idea what the pulse is up there. It’s such a big country that you can’t say what’s going on in Portland, Oregon has anything to do with what’s going on in Baltimore. I would say that most of the crimes that I see taking place in Mexico are need-based crimes. So much of the crimes that hit the headlines in the United States are mental illness or hate-based crimes.
Hate-based crimes worry me more than need-based crimes because if you have a society that’s based with a very disproportionate structure when it comes to pay, I know that when somebody is trying to do their best but is not earning enough, they’re going to cut corners. Their kids are going to see that, and they’re going to grow up with those values. It’s too bad, but it is the case.
When I see crime that’s hitting the headlines in the United States, I see a mentally disturbed guy who hasn’t gotten the help that he needs goes into a movie theater and shoots 30 people to death. That’s very concerning to me because I think that despite lots of social problems in Mexico, rampant mental health issues are not one of those. It’s based upon there still being a core strength in the nuclear family, in that young people can go to their parents after they’re 17 or 18 years old and say, “Hey look, let’s talk about this. I’m having problems.” I think that there’s definitely a cultural problem in the United States where people want their kids to begin to make their own life at 18, but people need to be really conscious of “Is this kid ready to leave the nest?,” and not just “Oh, it’s time to go to college,” or “It’s time to move and get a job and get an apartment.” Is this kid really ready or is he a basket case who could go get a big gun and do something crazy?
I’m such a non-violent person. I’m a Quaker so it’s not part of me to be violent. It’s hard for me to be critical of somebody who makes US $5 to work their fingers to a bone, and it is expected from them to just put their tail between their legs, go home and eat rice and beans again. I think that it’s very unfair. It hurts me to see the inequality, where the crime is just a collateral effect.
(Bride and groom walking the streets of San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, pictured.)