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Crime in Lake Chapala

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PWDowner
2/16/2014 09:05 EST

I've been reading about an increase of home invasions and burglaries in the Lakeside area. I also hear that it has been kept quiet so as to not affect the real estate prices. Would I be better served in living in a gated community?
Is this typical of other towns in Mexico where many expats reside?

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Ramzfan
2/16/2014 13:16 EST

I live in the El Dorado gated community in Ajijic. We had a home get burglarized last weekend. I don't think you're going to avoid the burglars just because you're in a gated community. It may make you a little safer because there are so many houses and they're so close together, but you also give up the freedom of living on an individual piece of property. It's all in what you want from Mexico.

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kittvincent
2/16/2014 14:20 EST

This is a difficult topic to address but I will give it a try. First off, it is not the realtors that are keeping things quiet to keep housing prices high. It has come out that the Chapala police have not been reporting crime properly to the State police to keep them from coming into to Chapala to assist the local police. State police and sometimes the military are dispatched to help out the local police if problems arise. Local police are small departments and are not paid well. The State is now aware of this issue.
Many young people are returning from the US that can't get jobs to try their luck back in Mexico. But jobs are hard to find here also. They have learned many things in the States. The latest crimes have been committed by them. It has been reported that the men followed the couple home after they bought a big TV. It has been inferred that the private security guards have been involved with the crimes but I don't know that for a fact. Some crimes have been linked to the families of maids and gardeners. The maids and gardeners are not involved but spoke about the houses that they worked at family gatherings. And sometimes it is the hired help that commit the crimes. Expats live in luxury compared to the locals. You need to be aware of what you put out there. We chose to live in a Mexican neighborhood in a modest house. Our neighbors watch out for us. We use only people that have been recommended by other expats to do repairs to things that break. You just have to be careful as you would in any foreign country you choose to live. You have to be careful in the States as well. Most Mexicans are warm and kind people. Expats contribute much to the local economy and they know that. It is just a handful that are trying to ruin things. We have always felt very comfortable here and that feeling continues. We drive at night and continue to be with our friends and they feel the same. Kitt Vincent

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emmette
2/16/2014 14:47 EST

thank you Kitty for your recent post on Mexico forum. I will be arriving back to Chapala/Ajijic on or around March 1st. and hope we come across each other. I have such a love for Chapala/Ajijic. txnks again, taylujay

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tessie
2/16/2014 18:52 EST

We are newbies living in Chapala Centro in a rental home. We have walked everywhere, shopped locally and feel comfortable but remain alert. A gated community is not where we wanted to live back up north and it isn't where we want to live now. We've been living in the area a bit more than 2 months and so far have had only great experiences.

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Ambros
2/16/2014 19:56 EST

I'm very concerned that the issues of crime in Chapala/Ajijic have been downplayed on this thread. First,I must say that that my husband and I have a real soft spot for the area. We lived there full time in 2005 & 2006. We have been back in the U.S. since Jan 2007. We have only visited Chapala a couple of times since moving back to U.S.But we still own a home there that we currently are renting out.Our experience living there was not without it's challenges,and we don't see ourselves ever living there full time again.But,we had many,many great experiences living there. The people of Mexico are just like people EVERYWHERE. Most are good,honest hardworking people,and some are not. When we were there we knew of many expats that were robbed. Most happened when they were away from home. But the latest wave of crime there has even us nervous. No one has spoken on this thread about the robbery/murder that took place in La Floresta this month to two Canadians. I feel it is negligent to withhold this information.People have a right to know,and weigh there decisions accordingly..

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Ramzfan
2/16/2014 21:55 EST

Hi Tessie, we are about the same as you. We arrived in Ajijic on Jan 1st of this year. Like I say, we are in a gated community but would be much happier with some room to roam. We are planning on moving as soon as our lease is up.

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dungeondevil
2/16/2014 22:06 EST

Every major News organization in North America reported this event. It was a featured article in a Sydney Australia on line newspaper.

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Parlino27
2/16/2014 22:46 EST

I agree you are the first to mention it. I was to Ajijic house sitting once and enjoyed it, but that was a pretty brutal murder of 2 wonderful Canadians who were contributors to the community. Yes there are bad people everywhere. No one place should be pictured as paradise. Realtors especially do not want to bring up the bad things that happen in the area they sell in. Of course this was not a normal occurrence but the pros and cons of any area should be looked at objectively.

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Ambros
2/17/2014 01:24 EST

As far as every major news network/publication covering it,I'm not so sure if I agree with that. I make my living on the internet,and the only way I heard about this was a Chapala Facebook friend posted it. I didn't hear it on the 6:00 tv news,or read about it on the internet "news". I'm not an alarmist. I also have an emotional and financial interest in Chapala/Ajijic,but I think it was something that belonged on this thread. If I was contemplating a move to a new location,especially in a new country,I would want this information.

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dungeondevil
2/17/2014 09:26 EST

Funny, I read about this unfortunate event on Fox, The Sydney Times, every news outlet in Canada, Every on line border town newspaper in the U.S. like Buffalo, Seattle, Burlington, Plattsburgh Even Al Jazeera had a blurb that they copied from the BBC. Later in the week, The Dawn, Pakistan picked up the BBC blurb. Do you use the internet or just watch TV?

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PWDowner
2/17/2014 10:48 EST

The issue isn't whether the double homicide was in the news but whether it is indicative of an increase of violent crime in the area. I have read of home invasions that didn't result in murder but were horrific crimes nevertheless. If Kitty is correct then the presence of state police or militia might reduce these incidents. I hope so.

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Parlino27
2/17/2014 11:14 EST

If you read my post, it says no one on this expat exchange mentioned it except one person.Obviously I use all the sites u mention which is how I first learned about it. That was not my point. dungeon devil. Nice name by the way...not.

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Parlino27
2/17/2014 11:24 EST

I wholly agree with you Ambros.

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emmette
2/17/2014 13:03 EST

Yes, Paulino and Ambros, I also totally agree with your posts. As I am leaving between February 28th and no later than March 3rd or 4th at the very latest, will advise if there is anything unusual. txnks,,,,,taylujay

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dungeondevil
2/17/2014 18:23 EST

Is it possible that the Sno-Birds and expiates located in the Lake Chapala region did not want to publicize this dastardly event.

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billbonilla
2/17/2014 19:37 EST

What the heck happened that everyone is in an uproar???

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tylerwebb
2/17/2014 20:55 EST

Why would one not want reality to be known. There are no crime free areas in Mexico, the USA or elsewhere.

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Ambros
2/17/2014 23:32 EST

I'm not going to speculate why the crime was not mentioned when a poster asked the point blank question about crime in the Chapala area. If this incident with the 2 Canadians in La Floresta is not a crime,I don't know what is.
I love Chapala/Ajijic,but don't forget,I haven't lived there since Jan.2007. That's quite a long time ago. But,I have visited twice for a week or so at the time since then. And I still own a home that I (we,my husband and I) rent out.
So,I have a soft spot for the area,as I said before.
But...I also tend to be honest to a fault,and have been told in the past more than once that I have a strong personality.
Take from that what you may.
But,if it was my husband and I looking to make a move to Chapala back in 2004,I would hope someone would have given me this information. From there,it's still up to me to make a decision. But when you have all the facts,or most of the facts,you have a shot at making an educated decision.
By the way,the best thing my husband and I got out of Chapala,was our two adopted street dogs that we drove back from Chapala to Florida.

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Ambros
2/18/2014 00:17 EST

I would appreciate an update on your experiences and the general feeling and tone in Chapala regarding this resent terrible event. Thank you.

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Ramzfan
2/18/2014 08:39 EST

I don't feel like it's any big deal...this stuff happens in the US all the time and nobody makes a big deal of it. Just because it's Mexico, everyone gets in a panic. I feel very bad for the Canadian couple but it's not going to spoil my life down here.

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billbonilla
2/18/2014 08:56 EST

What happened yo a Canadian couple? And I disagree with you comparing crime in Mexico to Canada. It may just as bad in Mexico as it us in USA, but Canada is extremely Safe! The worst of it in Mexico, is that besides the bandidos you have no reliable police force or criminal justice system. There is so much corruption!

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PWDowner
2/18/2014 11:53 EST

I'm aware of the crime rate in the USA...I live just outside of Philly but my house has never been robbed nor has anyone I know. I have left my doors unlocked and the keys in my car overnight. In Ajijic alone there have been 9 reported robberies in 2014. I'll be there in a few months to see for myself but I'm wondering if some of you aren't in denial. The thought of returning from the market to find your laptops, cash and jewelry gone and your pets pepper sprayed is a bit upsetting to me.

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kombutz
2/18/2014 13:21 EST

I think we need to put everything in its proper perspective. Crime is alive and well everywhere. Some people feel and act on the premise that the other person has something of theirs end they will take regardless of how you,the owner,feel. Therefore be alert always and minimize being a victim. Some expats feel they are guests so act carelessly. Crime will happen,let's not minimize it anywhere. Share stats to always heighten the universality of crime. Be safe.

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Ramzfan
2/18/2014 14:10 EST

Who compared crime in Mexico to CANADA...? I re-read every post on here and I don't see where anyone compared Crime in Mexico to Crime in Canada! I think somebody needs to get the chip off of their shoulder...

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joaquinx
2/18/2014 15:46 EST

So, we are not permitted to compare crime in Mexico to crime in Canada?

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Ambros
2/18/2014 17:20 EST

I have lived in homes throughout Florida for 35 years.Only 3 of those years we spent in Mexico & Costa Rica.But during all that time we still owned homes in Florida. My family and my husbands family all live in Florida,North Carolina,and some still in New York.That's ALOT of people in different areas of the US. Out of all our family only ONE has been robbed.ONE. That was my sister and her husband who were students in Gainsville and rented a house in a sketchy area. They were robbed,replaced everything with insurance money and were robbed again. I've never had a home robbed,my mother never has,my brother never has,my bother in law never has....OK.You get it. They all lived in nice neighborhoods and were never robbed.
I lived in Chapala for 2 years,and it was easier to find a person that had NEVER been robbed than to find a person that HAD been robbed.
It's a fact of life there folks. You will be a "have" living among "have nots". To put it bluntly.If you can deal with this,then you will find many things to love about Chapala.If not. Maybe think hard about if it's right for you.
This is why you will read repeatedly that if you want to live comfortably in Mexico,live like a typical Mexican that lives on less than $500 a month. Nothing flashy.That means no laptops,no expensive jewelry,no ipods,no tablets,no nice cars,no cell phones,no flat screen tvs,don't be seen in expensive clothes leaving fancy restaurants,etc. If you can live that simply you will be fine. We couldn't. I left the jewelry behind in the US in a safety deposit. But we're used to at least a decent car. We all spend alot of time on the computer,hence fancy laptops.And we like our flat screen tvs...
Think it through,and try to be realistic to yourselves. We were only fooling ourselves when we thought we could live this frugally and simply.
Remember,the typical Mexican doesn't own a matching set of kitchen glasses.So much of what you own will seem opulent to them ,even if it doesn't seem fancy to you.

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Ambros
2/18/2014 18:16 EST

I made a typo in my last post:
it was harder to find a person that had never been robbed than to find a person that had been robbed.In other words most expats I met had been robbed at one time or another.

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kombutz
2/18/2014 18:36 EST

In my post no reference was made to any particular country. Take the plank out of your eye....you'll see better.

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billbonilla
2/18/2014 19:15 EST

That's terrible!

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billbonilla
2/18/2014 19:22 EST

Well that us one option, to live poorly among the poor... great! OR live as well or better than you ever did back in USA among upper middle class families who also live as well, protected by a gated community like LOMAS DE COCOYOC IN MORELOS NEAR CUERNAVACA, with a perfect climate and tons of small charming villages to visit all around.
www.lomasdecocoyoc.com
Www.lomasdecocoyocnuevaera.com

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Tracym10
2/18/2014 20:17 EST

Excellent and useful reply Ambros

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emmette
2/18/2014 20:42 EST

I almost never take the time to write or respond to articles that are posted. Please forgive me as you have a right to your opinion and discussions with friends, relatives, and/or casual acquaintances. I am in my 70's and live in Texas. Have been going to Mexico around 30 years. Have taken probably 35 to 40 trips. Lived in Mineral de Pozo, San Miguel, Chapala,(in the neighborhood), Ajijic and Cuernavaca. I have never heard from One (1) family an individual, etc., that a discussion centered around someone being robbed, assaulted, etc,. Crime in our country is so much worse, especially in the lake Chapala areas. Crime is their, but usually very minor. As you stated Mr. Ambros, about expats being almost everyone being robbed at one time or another????Please everyone, wy in the world are we still talking about this issue? We have more enjoyable discussions to talk about. Maybe Mr. Ambros, you had friends in the border towns, where your statement could have some validity. We can "Beat A Good Horse To Death" I hope these opinions can all stop. Gosh, I don't want to delete the Mexico Forum. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to read. Taylujay

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Ambros
2/19/2014 01:03 EST

No offense,but maybe you should have read my post before commenting. I clearly stated that I lived in Chapala,not a border town. There are approximately 10 people that I keep in touch with in Chapala on facebook and also when we do visit Chapala we make sure and socialize with them .In other words approx. 10 people we consider more than just acquantinces,and consider friends.
One couple have been in Chapala for approx. 8 years. They live in La Floresta,moved from Florida. They tell us it is much different than it was even 7 years ago when we left the area. They have had their house robbed and lost jewelry,cash,computers and more.But the worst part is their dog was posioned. A local vet in Ajijic stayed up all night with the dog and managed to save him. Nice huh?
Another couple we stay in touch with live in Chapala,right by the park. He is from Texas and has lived there approx. 10 years. His live in girl friend is Mexican,and she has a 12 year old child. They have had their house robbed twice. Once approx. 8 years ago,and again in 2013. The daughter had received her first I-pod and was very upset in it being stolen.They also were robbed at gunpoint on the street in Guadalajara when visiting their lawyer.His Mexican girlfriend fainted on the sidewalk.
Another set of friends are real estate agents living in Birds of Paradise. They were robbed of cash,jewelry and laptops while they were sleeping. The husband woke up to go to the bathroom,and saw a figure squeezing out the sliding glass door. They live in a gated,guarded community.Should I go on?????
If the other aspects of Mexico make you happy. Which believe me I know the many great things about Mexico,then great. But denying an aspect of living there because you maybe think it shines a harsh light on a country you love is naiive,It doesn't change the facts.
Everyone do yourself a favor and google Lake Chapala crime. There are 8 reported robberies in the area in 2014 alone.In a village I can drive the length of in 10 minutes.
And those are just the reported ones,as many people do not call the police because nothing is going to come of it.
Or maybe I only met people who were the only people to ever be robbed in Chapala.

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mannem
2/19/2014 03:12 EST

There are a number of posts about the murder of the Canadian couple on this site:

http://www.lakechapalacrime.com/

Apparently the response was vigorous and the chief suspects have been caught.

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Ramzfan
2/19/2014 10:32 EST

I have to say that I have not lived in Ajijic for a long period, but in the short time I have been here, I have found it to be about like any Mexican or American community. I lived in Las Vegas for 5 years back in the early nineties and was robbed 3 times during that period. Two car break-ins and one burglary. I lived in an upper-class neighborhood too.
Life is what you make it. All you can do is try to make it more difficult for the theives and try to look like less of an enticing target. You don't bring expensive jewelry to Mexico. You don't do things to rile the neighbors. (a dog that barks all day will probably get him poisoned) There is a rumor that the lady that was murdered had complained about the loud music coming from the construction site next door and she had gotten the workmen fired. That is a no-no in Mexico. What I'm saying is: Don't come to Mexico and expect to change it to be like the U.S. or Canada...live and let live...enjoy it or go home...!

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vnazaire1
2/19/2014 10:42 EST

Ambros, thank you my friend, for reporting it like it is !
That does not prevent one from still liking Mexico or Chapala but truth must be told.
It confirms my thinking that as soon as you have a pool of "well-off people" in a sea of not-so well-off community, you are bound to see the sponge process.
Read the sponge as being the expats and the sea the community of surrounding nationals confronted with poor income.
One can still likes Mexico while being aware of its warts!

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harddazeknight
2/19/2014 10:42 EST

The way I read it was that one brother had been caught and the other was still at large.

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nelsonokelmgmailcom
2/19/2014 10:52 EST

After reading this thread for a while I'm glad I don't live in the Guadalajara/ Lake Chapala area. Sounds toxic. I am living in Puerto Vallarta. Don't hear anything about crime. I am sure it exists, but it is the exception rather than the rule. Don't think it is due to under reporting. According to TripAdvisor it is very safe. Climate is warmer but VERY tolerable even for 12 month occupancy.

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jpaford
2/19/2014 11:22 EST

I am with you Nelson--whenever I read the posts from Lake people--they seem negative. Maybe it is that Mt Air? Give me PV--and hot in the summer?--that is why they invented A/C!--and the Ocean!

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vnazaire1
2/19/2014 12:01 EST

For a local point of view on Lake Chapala, please read :

El ojo del lago, a monthly magazine

http://chapala.com/elojo/

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PWDowner
2/19/2014 13:24 EST

Thanks Ambros for having the courage to share your experiences even though doing so may adversely affect the rental income of your Lakeside home. I still intend to move there but I go there now with my eyes open. I began this thread not to bash Lakeside but to get a balanced view of life there. By some of the comments of other residents it seems that they are either in denial or have just accepted the realization that being robbed is an inevitable cost of living in Paradise.

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Ambros
2/19/2014 16:53 EST

Thank you PWDowner and Vnazaire1 for your kind words. I want to make it clear to all that I am not bashing Chapala. As a matter of fact,the 2 years we spent there were happy for my husband and I and we highly recommend to all American and Canadians to live in a foreign country sometime in your life. It opens your eyes to the advantages and disadvantages of living in your home country.
I also don't want anyone to think my comments are negative about any race or country. I truly believe if I moved from my middle class neighborhood in Florida into an impoverished neighborhood in Florida,the same type of things would happen.You can't move flat screen tvs into a house past people who maybe don't own a tv. .If you've ever been truly poor in your entire life you know how hard everyday existence is. I'm not condoning theft,but there is a part of me that understands the mindset also.
Lastly,my husband and I don't ever see ourselves moving back to Chapala again. But that is not a negative comment on Chapala. The reasons are personal to us as a couple.
Some other people chimed in speaking about other parts of Mexico as if they are superior to Chapala. I don't believe that for a second,as we traveled all over Mexico when we lived in Chapala,and I think these problems are universal.
PWDowner I hope you and your spouse enjoy Chapala as much as we did,and at least you've been given more info than the usual "utopia" stories people print.PM me if you have any other questions.

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Ramzfan
2/19/2014 18:40 EST

Puerta Vallerta and Manzanillo are known for not publishing crime statistics...they would lose a lot of tourists if they did!

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dungeondevil
2/19/2014 19:02 EST

Honest crime statistics are generally suppressed but there is more truth published north of the Rio Grande River, than south of it.

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