Mexico is safer than many vacation destinations.
While the media often portrays Mexico as the most dangerous place on earth, it is statistically quite safe. According to NationMaster.com which uses U.N.-based data, Mexico doesn't even make the list of the 36 nations with the highest murder rates. Mild-mannered nations like Sweden and Switzerland top Mexico for murders on NationMaster.com. The assault rate in the U.S. is nearly 5 times greater than that of Mexico in the independent Prominix report adjusted for under-reported crime.
Even when we add on independent estimates for unreported homicides, Mexico ranks 21st behind many popular vacation destinations. Places we think of as idyllic Caribbean retreats have double, triple, even quadruple the murder rates of Mexico. Mexico's famous vacation areas are even safer than the averaged statistics, and even safer still for tourists.
Mexico has very low violent crime rates.
The U.S. Assault rate is 5 times higher than Mexico's. Mexico's violent crime rates for Assault, Kidnapping and Rape are substantially lower than Canada's and yet the U.S. State Department issues no such warnings for Canada. The rate for Rape in the U.S. is more than double the rate in Mexico. The numbers in the charts below have been adjusted for unreported crime from the respected 2012 Prominix report and are the most accurate statistics available on this subject.
Unless you are involved in the drug trade, you are statistically safer in Mexico than anywhere else in North America. Even though the U.S. murder rate of 4 per 100,000 is lower than Mexico's, tourists and visitors are statistically safer in Mexico and much less likely to be a victim of violent crime than in the U.S., Canada and many other countries regarded as safe.
While the infamous cartel crimes in Mexico are disturbing, the rate of violent crimes in Mexico is still lower than the rates in many countries thought of as "safe."