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How safe is Mexicali … and Mexico? Part 3

Most Mexicali police are in trucks

Most Mexicali police are in trucks

I get many e-mails asking me “Is Mexicali safe,” “I want to live in Mexicali, but is it safe?” My answer is YES.

Mexicali is just like any other big city in the US, where there crime does exist. Mexicali is the capital of Baja California, and it was founded in 1903. It has a population of 1 million, and is growing.

Mexicali is also an industrial city. If folks want old churches and cobble stones, Mexicali is not for them. However, for us, Mexicali works, and we cross over to the US-border town of Calexico as often as we need. We can go to San Diego, or Yuma, whenever we want. There is a good wait of 1 to 2 hours to get across the border into the US. If you qualify, you can get a special “Sentri” pass from the U.S. Border Patrol which will lower the border-crossing time to 15 minutes—or less.

When folks are planning to live in another city in another country, wherever that is, people have to understand that they are guests in that country.

So here, in Mexicali, think of being a guest; try to learn the language and the culture.

Living here is just like living in any part of the US. Find the good neighborhoods to live in, watch and learn what your neighbors are doing. On weekends the music can go on pretty much all night. During weekdays you have to turn off the blasting speakers after midnight.

Jim and I have always advised folks to have nothing to do with drugs. You don’t want to have anything to do with drugs here in Mexicali. That is a given. Get caught with Oxycontin in Mexico, and the penalty is three years in prison. Opiates that are widely used in the U.S. like Vicodin and Oxycontin are not for sale in Mexico.

These guys are gone

These guys are gone – kinda

Drive carefully, Mexico follows the Napoleonic law of “guilty until proven innocent,” so be on the defensive whey you drive, and if you have a problem with another driver, settle it amongst yourselves, as the last thing you want is to bring the police into anything—that could complicate matters and you could easily wind up in jail.

Lock your vehicles up. Don’t carry purses when you decide to go into a crowded area. This is all just common sense stuff.  Life can be uncomplicated when you want it to!

Obviously, there are many unspoken rules.

Don’t go to the nightclubs, and expect to get ‘a free pass.’  By that I mean, ‘Don’t go looking for trouble.’  For older folks like us, Mexicali works out fine.

All that I have mentioned is applicable to any big city in the US.

About 4000 Americans out of every 100,000 are victims of some kind of crime each year. In Mexico it is about 38% of that only about 1500 per 100,000.

Fourteen out of 100,000 Mexicans are victims of rape each year compared to 33 per 100,000 in the U.S.

About 120 Mexicans per 100,000 are victims of theft each year, while in U.S. it is 20 times that or 2400 per 100,000.

The overall murder rate for all of Mexico is higher than that of the U.S. However, that can differ, depending where you are. According to the Los Angeles Times, Mexicali has a homicide rate comparable to that of Wichita, Kansas.

In our opinion, Mexicali is the safest border town in Mexico and a lot safer than some places in the good old USA—but you might stay away from the Sierra Madre mountains and Durango. The guy who wrote God’s Middle Finger merely made it out alive.

71 comments to How safe is Mexicali … and Mexico? Part 3

  • Stephen:
    We are 7 years in Mexicali. Currently, we rent a 4-bedroom, 2 bath house with a 3-car garage for $500 a month.
    We live on Argentina, one of the closest streets to the US border, and have had no problems whatsoever with
    crime. We drive and have a Sentri card which enables us to be in the US (Calexico) in only 10 minutes. There
    are busses and taxis in Mexicali and you can take one and walk across the border. There is a pubic health
    service center in Calexico which can serve all your needs. The medical care in Mexicali is great. Look
    up my post on my Tarlov Cyst operation in Mexicali – where the MRI technician diagnosed the problem after
    it had not be diagnosed in 15 years in the US.
    All the best,

  • Stephen

    Hi. thinking of living for the 6 winter-spring months (Nov. through April) on the border. from houston. retired, single on SS pension. want the less costly living but remain close to the states. medicare reasons mostly. looks like mexicali is the safest large city on the mexican side. no way would consider anything on the mexico side of the texas border. any thoughts on where to live? furnished room/apartment rates? problems with local cops or immigration agents? a real hassle on the mexico-texas border. i live a quiet, “unto myself” type of life. no longer drive, so would need to be close to public transport such as the bus or collectivos. any info you may think helpful would be appreciated. “hablo un poco de espanol”:) feel free to personally respond to my email if desired. thanks. stephen.

  • Don’t know if it is a good idea to park your RV in Mexicali. Also, going back and forth, you are going to have extra border crossing. Instead, as you come down Highway 111, turn right on 2nd in Calexico. You will find a huge and safe parking lot on the north side of 2nd. Your RV will be safe there.
    God Bless,

  • Mtndiva

    We want to park our RV on the South side of the border and run into Costco in Calexico in our tow car. Do you have a recommendation for where to park?

  • Doug:
    As you come down Highway 111, turn right on 2nd in Calexico. You will find a huge and safe parking lot on the north side of 2nd.
    God Bless,

  • doug stumbaugh

    Want to spend the day in Mexicali. Is there a safe place to park our car on the US side and walk in and catch a cab or walk to city center if possible.

    Thank you

  • Al:
    Yes, flights out of Mexicali are a bargain. The parking lot is manned and should be quite secure – not sure of the cost, however. Also no TSA or crowds!
    God Bless,

  • Al

    Hello, I noticed that flights south out of Mexicali Airport are half are what they are out of Phoenix and Yuma. Any experience flying out of Mexicali? Is there airport parking? If so, how much. Any info would be great, thanks,

  • Pat:
    Chinatown is our favorite Chinese Restaurant. It is on Francisco I Madero 701, 21000 Mexicali, Baja California
    Phone:01 686 554 0212.
    Another good one is China Market, Calle “H” No. 421. They also have a great Chinese market at the same location.
    God Bless,

  • Pat Turner

    I was born in Calexico a long time ago, and lived in El Centro. We used to go to Mexicali for the Chinese food which was some of the best I’ve ever had. We went to a restaurant called Alley 19. Is that restaurant still there or are there other Chinese restaurants in Mexicali still?

  • Mike:
    There are very few Americans in Mexicali. In the past six years we have met maybe four. However, if you want Americans, and the advantages that American brings (like a P.O. Box, cheaper electronics, and a bunch of other stuff – Calexico is right next to us. With our SENTRI pass, we are in Calexico in 10 minutes, tops. And, yes, if you live in Mexicali (or any place overseas) you are exempt from Obamacare. The doctors are great here – no appointments, and the fees are less than what a co-pay would be in the U.S. Living in Mexicali, we have the best of both worlds! Come on down!
    God Bless,

  • Mike Nagle

    Do you know how many Americans Live in Mexicali?

  • Angela:
    We have been safe here for years, but stick mainly to the northern part of Mexicali – which is also the nicest part.
    God Bless,

  • Angela Johnson

    Hi. We are wondering about visiting Mexicali before Christmas. I have 4 children from 7-17. We would be driving our own car. Would we be safe to come?

  • Trenton:
    You will see plenty of cabs when you cross the border. It’s a short trip to the Lucerna Hotel.
    God Bless,

  • Trenton Harbour

    MaryAnn, I am coming to Mexi Cali from Seattle to go to Lucerna Hotel in Mexicali, I will be walking across the border in Calexico, do you mind picking me up at the border and driving me to the Lucerna Hotel in Mexicali?

  • Aaron: You are welcome. If you rent a car, I am not sure they will let you take it into Mexico. From the Greyhound station, you can easily walk across the border, where you will find taxis waiting for you. Even your friend could meet you there or even at Greyhound where we have picked up people. If you take a taxi into Mexicali from the US side of the border, it will cost about $60 more.
    God Bless,

  • Aaron

    Maryann, thanks for maintaining your page.

    I’m a Canadian that’ll be visiting family in California, then I want to visit a friend (Mexican) in Mexicali. I fully understand what you’re saying about the safety, and being smart… Re safety, do you think it’ll make a difference if I rent a car and drive across the boarder or take the Greyhound? I don’t speak Spanish.

    Thanks again and have a magical day!

  • Jenny, You could always cross the border at Mexicali, and cycle on Mexico’s 8 to Los Algodones, but I would not recommend it. Don’t know about cycling on the 8 freeway, but you might take a look at this Google link.
    God Bless,

  • Jenny Arata

    Just wondering if you know anything about cycling in the streets there as to what the laws are. I’d like to cycle through Mexicali and go over to Los Algodones and back up into the USA, but I don’t know if I can take my bike on the 8 freeway/highway that runs between Mexicali and Los Algodones. Any ideas? Thanks!

  • admin

    At the border crossing in Calexico you can easily walk into Mexico. It is just a short walk. At the border crossing there are taxis willing to take you into Mexicali (for about US$60). If you don’t have luggage, it is a much cheaper deal to walk across and pick up a cheaper taxi in Mexicali. However, not all the taxi drivers in Mexicali are boy scouts.
    A San Felipe dentist? Sorry, I don’t know as I have been to San Felipe only once – it’s a nice place.
    God Bless,

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