We have had the odd and strange murder here in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, but it was usually not premeditated. Usually it is the result of an interrupted robbery. We have had a couple of times in the country where people get tied up and set in their bathroom while the house gets emptied but that happens in houses that are more on the outside of town and without an alarm. Yes, dogs have been poisoned. But overall, I think that the crime rate here in San Miguel de Allende is definitely less than in other communities. Guanajuato and San Miguel de Allende, in general, are pretty safe.
When I came here to Mexico over 15 years ago, there were the same occurrences of crime. Sometimes, expats will build a nice big house because the land is cheaper in a very downscale neighborhood. I think it just brings resentment because you put up a construction site next door to poor people. People are watching and when the moment comes that they think you are not in your house, they break in only to realize that you’re in there. They know that you know them because you see each other every day so they’d decide that it’s better to just put you out. There were situations that are definitely unfortunate. It has happened. San Miguel de Allende has a population of about 130,000 including the surrounding ranches that use all the services and all the little communities around it.
In comparison, I feel pretty comfortable both here in San Miguel de Allende and in Vancouver, where I came from, but I am a person who uses my instincts and I don’t do stupid things. One basic thing that you learn when you came to Mexico over 15 years ago is that you don’t leave a jacket in the car or any other kind of valuables. Thieves can be in there and out of there in about 3 minutes while you’re buying milk. So you just don’t leave stuff in the car even if it’s locked. There is even a device now where these thieves could walk by your briefcase and if you don’t have your credit cards in those protective sleeves, they can pick up and duplicate your cards, and pick up everything about you. That doesn’t only happen in Mexico. That could also happen in New York. There is a device that is about the size of a DVD that they hold in their hand and hang it out their car window when they drive by all the cars that are parked and just like that they know whether there is something electronic in each car to steal. It immediately senses whether there is a battery-operated device in the car. I had my stereo robbed in downtown San Miguel at around 9 o’clock, 20 years ago. They took my stereo but they didn’t take my briefcase. At that time nobody had cellphones and iPads, but it happened.
Personally, I have been here in San Miguel for 15 years and that stereo that was stolen from me was the only time I have been a victim of crime here. All my windows have glorious iron covers that look like old Venice. Yes, they stop anybody from going in through the windows but they are absolutely glorious to look at. In Mexico, houses usually have walls around them, which are not that high but high enough so that it discourages thieves. I don’t have the iron bars on the doors of my inner patio but all my doors are double locked.
Having dogs on your property is the best thing. Keep your dogs behind a roof so that if some horrible person wants to poison them by throwing some poisonous meat over the wall, hopefully, it wouldn’t happen. I bring my dogs in at night when I’m at home. They sleep in a cage. When I’m gone, they stay outside.
I have never had any fear living here in San Miguel. However, I would still never go down a dark street at night with a purse but I didn’t do that 20 years ago, either. I actually don’t do that anywhere. In my day to day life here, I feel secured in my person 100%. Most of the crimes that you would hear about here in San Miguel are interrupted robberies.
(Decorative security bars over windows, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, pictured.)