How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

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How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

SteelDragon
For anyone thinking about traveling to mexico, I have some tips that may help you avoid being kidnapped or even worse, being killed. If anyone else can add to this list please do so.

1. Do not travel in a new vehicle.

2. Do not drive at night.

3. Do not wear jewelry (watches, earrings, rings, ect...)

4. Do not do anything that will draw attention to yourself ( loud music, flashing large amounts of money, wearing flashy expensive clothes, etc..)

5. Do not piss anyone off. Your usually safe in mexico, as long as nobody's pissed at you.

6. Do not go to any bars, clubs, or anything of that nature. You could be kidnapped, murdered, or be charged an extremely large bill.

7. Do not associate with anyone unless you have too.

8. Stay away from the women. They will get you kidnapped, or claim you raped them.

9. Do not go outside once the street lamps have turned on.

10. Be prepared to be extorted in every way possible. A trick that I use sometimes to avoid having to pay a bunch of people money, is to just bribe the mexican customs. As of 2012, the fee is usually 800 American. The way it works is, you travel to mexico on a saturday, preferably mid-afternoon. Carry a large trailer, so that you will need to use the weigh station before you are allowed into mexico. The officer will come up to your window and explain to you that the weigh station is closed until monday. At that point you calmly explain to him that you need to enter mexico, and how much will it cost. Usually the officer feels ashamed that he is about to extort you, so you may need to ask him a few times before he answers you. He will then tell for 800usd, he will give you a 15 digit code to give to anyone you encounter ( military checkpoints, police, etc...) in the state of chihuahua, and with this code nobody will bother you. If you attempt to negotiate he will tell you that you are illegally entering mexico and that he will take your vehicle( which will never be returned to you) and, he will take you to jail. Dont be frightened, 'just pay him the 800usd. Now your in mexico, if you get pulled over just give them the number, and they will let you go, or if you have to stop at military checkpoints give them the number and they will not search vehicle.

11. Be careful what you say at military checkpoints. For example, if your driving a nice vehicle and are dressed nice, a solider may quietly ask you, "hey boss, do you have any work, because we only get paid 150 a week here, and its not worth it". This is just a test to see if you are a narco, so do not get cocky and say some kind of bullshit that will get you arrested.

12. Do not travel by bus. They are usually hijacked, and the women are sometimes raped.

13. If your wife is very good looking, leave her at home. For example if you are pulled off the road by sicarios and they see that you have a very good looking wife they may kidnap her.

14. If sicarios are chasing you, depending on how many, you may be able to escape by driving VERY fast (100mph+). If you are traveling alone I would recommend doing this. If you are traveling with your family, pull over and offer your vehicle, all your money, and all your belongings without them having to ask you.

15. If you are carrying a cell phone, have it turned off, and remove any pictures or messages.

16. If you see a ferrari logo, go the opposite direction.

17. If you see vehicles with "X" on the window, go the opposite direction.

18. If possible avoided window washers and orange sellers.

19. Do not wear ed hardy clothing.

20. If you see someone getting murdered, robbed, kidnapped, or beaten, go the opposite direction and forget what you saw.
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Re: How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

Lala
this post should be titled "how to be paranoid", somehow millions of people manage to not get kidnapped or killed while still enjoying life, do not go to bars, do not associate with anyone, do not go outside once street lamps are on...? c´mon! how sad is that
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Re: How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

K_Mennem
In reply to this post by SteelDragon
HAHAAH!

Do not wear ed hardy, listen to music, ride buses, or go to bars! thats hilarious.

I do hope this is a joke.
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Re: How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

Tijuano
In reply to this post by SteelDragon
What?
Si vis pacem, para bellum
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Re: How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

The Radio
In reply to this post by SteelDragon
The number one tip to not being kidnapped in Mexico: Don't go to Mexico
lasers...
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Re: How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

Mexico-Watcher
In reply to this post by SteelDragon
Thanks for the detailed warnings.  I've read some posts that ridicule you for being "paranoid".

I have also interviewed several Mexican who would agree with your post.  One man told me that it is very dangerous for even him (who knows Mexico very well) to travel in Mexico because halcones are everywhere looking for opportunities to rob or kidnap.  He said that even Pemex workers or taco vendors may be halcones with cell phones that they use to alert criminals down the line that a fat pidgeon is on His/her way.

Also, I have some experience in corrections mental health work.  A prison psychiatrist explained to staff that there is a syndrome called "functional paranoia" which roughly means "street smarts" and that it is of great value for survival in potentially dangerous situations.  People who la dee da foolishly venture into panteras' dens will eventually get eaten.

So, thanks for the warnings, I am going to pass the post to my friends.

Mex-Watcher
SRG
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Re: How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

SRG
In reply to this post by SteelDragon
No one is going to kidnap you unless your a cartel member or really really really rich, seems like all the posts on the forum lately are bashing Mexico, no more cartel info or anything..
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Re: How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

Mexico-Watcher
SRG: Instead of  pulling the "bashing Mexico" card  why don't you expand on the topic and tell us "useful" things to counter the proposition that traveling in Mexico is dangerous "if" one does not take precautions as described  in the originating thread.

P.S. Even if the writer is wrong, it is evident he means well.  Now, give us a substantive rebuttal.  We really do want to learn something here.

Mexico-Watcher
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Re: How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

katattx
In reply to this post by SteelDragon
Thats an awesome message dude. For all the haters on this thread, um, here in TX if you wanna cross the border in a vehicle and drive into MX you have to pass thru some of the bloodiest areas. His advice is NOT paranoia, its quite realistic. He's not a "Mexico hater", I think he just likes to keep his head attached.  Have you all not read the news here on BB for the last few years?! Americans, missionaries, Mexican-Americans and just about anybody can, and has been extorted, kidnapped and shot in MX. I know not all of MX is like that, but to get to the good parts from where I live you have to drive thru areas that are at war. All the advice except the last point has been common knowledge for anyone traveling to MX, esp the border area. His admonishments regard the border area. I'd like to know who thinks that area is safe........
DD
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Re: How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

DD
In reply to this post by SteelDragon
@SteelDragon;  If you follow all 20 precautions you have listed for travel in Mexico, why do bother going?  I can't imagine that it would be an enjoyable trip.  

Several of the precautions you suggest are good ones and are listed in US State Dept. Travel Advisories.

As for some of the others, I can only speak from personal experience.  When I first moved to Mexico 17 years ago Mexico had much less violence and was a safer place.  During the first 10 years or so that I was here the only time I was a "victim" of crime was when someone stole my water hose and a sprinkler from my yard while I was out of town for the week-end.

That was partly my fault for leaving it out because I knew that a common attitude in Mx. is "if he doesn't care enough about his property to protect and take care of it, it doesn't mean much to him, so I am not hurting him if I take it."

I used to travel back and forth to the US fairly frequently on business, crossing at Piedras Negras.  The total problems I ever had are;
**I was stopped by local PN cops for not wearing a seat belt shortly after Mx made seat belts mandatory.  I was sitting at a red light and the police car pulled up beside me.  No one in cars around me was wearing a seat belt, but the cops stopped me.  Surprise, surprise, they wanted a mordita (bribe) and it took me about 30 minutes and cost me $20.00.  It wouldn't have taken 30 minutes but the smallest bill I had on me was $100 and I told him I wouldn't give then that.  So they took me to a convenience  store to get change and I was on my way.

**Another couple of times after driving from Houston I was stopped by Federales in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere (3:00AM).  I explained that I had left Houston after finishing some business there and was going to my home about an hour from the border.  They checked my drivers license and my car permit and said fine, be on your way.

**One other time a local cop in a little superb of the town where I live stopped me at 2 or 3 in the morning for going too fast over the speed bumps.  Although he didn't say it, he wanted a mordita.  I talked my way out of it by telling him I had been driving for 8 hours and as I got close to home I just got anxious to get home and see my wife.

That's it!  I don't cross as much as I used to, but only because I don't have a need to.  I have friend here (gringos) that do cross frequently.  One of them crosses at PN 3 to 5 times a month, driving a late model 4 door black pickup.  He has lived here 10 years and has never had a problem.  

He was stopped by the State Police a few months ago at night when he was pulling a horse trailer with 3 horses in it.  He was returning from a barrel racing competition and one of the horses was his and 2 he was hauling for a friend.  The police asked if he had papers proving he was the owner of the horses.  He told them he had the Quarter Horse registration for his but he didn't carry it in the truck, but it was at his house.  They told him to follow them to the station.  He called his friend who owned the other 2 and asked him to meet him at the station.  He said the cops were very friendly and apologetic and said they were not trying to hassle him but there had been a lot of horse thefts lately and they had to check.  When the friend (a Mexican) showed up at the station with registration for his horses and told the cops that my friend was legitimate breeder and trainer of high dollar quarter horses, they release them and the trailer and the horses.  My friend thanked them for being so vigilant and  everyone was happy.

My friend tries to be cautious and use common sense and tries to avoid night travel (with or without the horses), sometimes it is unavoidable.  Still he has not had any problems crossing at one of the most dangerous crossings in Mexico.

Pardon me for saying so, but I think your suggestion that people should get large trailer and follow your instructions on how to get a 13 digit number that will protect them in Mexico is silly.  

First, how many people have a large trailer or are going to go out and get one so they can get a free pass 13 digit number that will protect them from danger.

When I first came to Mexico I was in charge of transportation for a maquiladora that several semi trailers of product across the border everyday.  I am fairly familiar with requirements for crossing trailers.  I don't doubt that you can bribe an official at a weigh station or aduana for a permit to cross a trailer.  You need a permit for trailer just like you do for your car.  But what you are getting is a permit number.  Even though you might have gotten it illegally it makes your trailer legal.  You could have gotten the same thing cheaper during regular business hours.

If you are stopped at a checkpoint or by the police, they check your papers, the permit for your car and the permit for your trailer.  If they are in order they pass you through.  You might have thought it was protecting you from harm because no harm came to you, but it was really only passing you through because you were legal.  (Even if you didn't have your 13 digit permit number, you probably could have paid the cops a lot less than $800 and they would have let you pass.

Stop and think about it.  Do you really think that a guy working at the weigh station, making less than $100 a week has the power to give you a "pass" that will protect you from violence?  Do you really think that there is enough coordination between army, marines, federal police, state police, and local police that they would all know what the hell that 13 digit number stood for.?

I am curious though.  With all the precautions you take when traveling in Mexico what precautions do you take when traveling in the US.  From looking at the numbers, it would seem that your risk of violence would be a lot higher when traveling in the following cities than when traveling in Mexico:

Top 100 Most Dangerous Cities in the U.S. (I just selected a few randomly;

 My chances of becoming a victim
in East St. Louis 1 in 17

 chances of becoming a victim
in Camden 1 in 36

 My chances of becoming a victim
in Atlantic City 1 in 53

 My chances of becoming a victim
in Texarkana 1 in 78

 My chances of becoming a victim
in Daytona Beach 1 in 73
       
 My chances of becoming a victim
in Washington 1 in 83

 My chances of becoming a victim
in Hartford 1 in 76

 My chances of becoming a victim
in Kansas City 1 in 84

 My chances of becoming a victim
in Niagara Falls 1 in 86

 My chances of becoming a victim
in San Bernardino 1 in 97

 My chances of becoming a victim
in Tulsa 1 in 100

http://www.neighborhoodscout.com/neighborhoods/crime-rates/top100dangerous/
       

               

The top ten cities in Texas with the highest crime rate are: Dallas, Houston, Longview, Beaumon, Killeen, Waco, Lubbock, Amarillo, Fort Worth, and San Antonio. - See more at: http://www.chacha.com/question/what-are-the-top-ten-cities-with-the-highest-crime-rate-in-texas#sthash.HQ1gbaqp.dpuf
       
               
Words are powerful weapons, be careful how you use them.
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Re: How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

Alacran
In reply to this post by SteelDragon
@steel dragon
I'm sorry but I could not help but laugh at this. Are you being serious or have you been watching "machete" the movie over & over? Please stop making things worse than they really are. I've been back & forth to Mexico & have never had any issues & same goes for many people I know who travel frequently.
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Re: How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

SteelDragon
In reply to this post by DD
I know all this from personal experience, and some of the things i have done myself. Some of it may make no sense, but that's why it is true.  The 15 code is not something you can get legal during working hours, and the trailer does not need to be huge, it can be small.  in 2012 a family who paid this 15 digit code was traveling in mexico when they were runned off the road by sicarios. The sicarios took the truck, and luckly did not kill the family. A few hours later, another group of sicarios passed by and asked them what happened. the family told them that they had been runned off the road, and had their vehicle stolen. The sicarios drove the family to the nearest town and told the family to wait there. About 45 minutes later they returned with the family's truck, and a few heads.

When I was 14, My cousin who was also 14, shot and killed his best friend by accident. My family hid him well, so the police never found him, and after about a day they quit looking. Three years later, I was drinking with some guys I had never met before, and but later I found out they were family of the kid my cousin killed. One of the guys told me that he had seen me with the guy who killed his cousin, and that they were going to kill him. They said, "We know he is your cousin, so do you have a problem with us killing him? if you do say now, and we will kill you too". I said, "No i dont have a problem", and the next day my cousin was picked up and taken to a field and killed.  I could have told my cousin that they were coming to kill him, but that would have gotten me killed. So point of this story is, if you want to survive in mexico, only look out for yourself.

A very beautiful girl who was about 16 years old, left home and got involved with the wrong people, so she decided to return home to her family. About a week later she received a phone call say thing that a group of sicarios will be arriving at her house next week to kill her, and she better be outside waiting or they are going to kill the whole family.  When the sicarios arrive, the mother comes running out of the house begging them not to kill her daughter, they kindly tell her that they have too, and to go back into the house. The mother has no other choice but to go back into the house, the girl is then executed in front of her house.
No police, or nobody else intervened.
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Re: How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

Baggy
I really thought you were having a laugh Dragon, Ok
Well if its that bad another thing people could do is big the biggest hole they can, hide in it and eat all the worms and bugs you dig up while making your own ''anti narco bunker''.
Patriotism is a propaganda tool used to make people blind to the lies of their government through unquestioning devotion.
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Re: How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

WinCityC
In reply to this post by SteelDragon
When I worked for Magna (late 90's till early 2000's). I was often in Mexico, and even though they provided me with personal security, I never worried about being kidnapped in Mexico. We had plants from Monterrey to the D.F. I can say that the police tried to extort a bribe from me on multiple occasions. Also i was in one of our plants when some men came in and states that we need to pay them or our trucks may not make it to there destinations. So we showed them what a hockey scrum was and escorted them outside and in the hands of the state police. After that i never heard of of that happening again.
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Re: How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

Chivis
Administrator
In reply to this post by SteelDragon
I would advise not to use ATM cards in statins out in the open, to prevent express kidnappings population in the North.

Although I think many of these safety tips are unnecessary or over the top, I give kudos to the poster for not saying "Don't travel to Mexico" as dozens of people have written after the Az mom was falsely accused of drug trafficking.  I give him props for that, as I wrote in my article about the US movement to boycott travel to Mx:



The incident has sparked a movement in Arizona calling for a travel to Mexico boycott, I understand emotions are high, and I have supported Yanira's innocence from the start, it simply smacked of a set up.  However, I can't support a boycott asking an entire nation of people to join a boycott that affects another nation in a  knee jerk reaction because of one wrongly accused US citizen.   That will result in zero productivity.

 

It is a sad point of reality that the Phoenix protestors couldn't have been moved to action from the many tragedies occurring  in Mexico, to Mexicans, migrants and 3 members of a Texas family, one a Marine who served the United States nation proudly.

 

6 million Americans visit Mexico each year, 1 million plus Americans live in Mexico, each year there are an average of 100-130 murders of Americans.  The  murders are quantified in a catch all category which does not define if a murder is a crime of passion versus narco violence, but that is about 2.1 per 100k capita.
 

As an comparative, lets take Orlando Florida, the home of Disney World and many other famous tourist destinations.  Orlando has a rate 7.5 homicides per 100k.  Be proactive, discover yourself how Houston, Stl, Chicago, Washington DC and other tourist cities stack up with places in Mexico such as Cabo, Cancun, and Puerto Vallarta.  

 

Blanket statements are irresponsible, and clearly I am not contending that Mexico is without concerns, and make that major concerns in some areas, but even the state department travel warning list includes a small portion of Mexico on the list.  Be informed, check updated info and as anyplace one may travel, Hong Kong, Mexico City, or Orlando Florida, educated yourself before travelling.



 
The way I see it.... the more people that don't like me, the less people I have to please
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Re: How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

Mexico-Watcher
In reply to this post by DD
DD: Thanks.  Very informative and useful information.

I duly note the dangerous statistical issues of the US cities you listed.  I am familiar with some of these cities and can tell you that people must know exactly "Where" within these cities on is in order to increase safety.

For example, I was once driven through Camden to see the high danger zones during daylight hours.  Truthfully, it was a scary experience because the signs of decadence, violence and thuggery were everywhere.  

My basic point is that cities are NOT uniform social environments.  Cities have safe, not so safe, and dangerous zones within them (as any cop or street smart person) can tell you.  The "global" stats on city violence for any given city are sometimes blurred by this.  As a statistician once lectured us about the idiot that drowned crossing a river with an "average" depth of one foot!

From reading Borderland Beat and other web sites, I still say that Mexican corruption, violence, and impunity from justice is virtually everywhere and that one must have "functional paranoia" or "street smarts" in order to maximize safety. All we have to do is look at what happened to Acapulco's tourist industry to see what chronic corruption and violence does when people fear for their safety.

Thanks again, DD.

Mexico-Watcher

 
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Re: How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

emperor
In reply to this post by SteelDragon
Another point is not asking too many questions about what is going on in the area of Mexico that you are at. Although many will be honest and will tell you what is going on; some might be in fear and say nothing, and someone might let a dangerous person know that you or someone else is asking questions about the criminal activity that is happening in the city or town.
303
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Re: How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

303
In reply to this post by SteelDragon
By you accounts a person probably should never leave their hotel room then. I have found if a person uses basic common sense they are usually completely fine.
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Re: How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

El Nayaloense
In reply to this post by SteelDragon
More than half of your list could apply to people like me living in what you would call the "hood". Your heart is in the right place but like people above me have said if you follow all of the above might as well stay home.
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Re: How to avoid being kidnapped in mexico.

sadisto
In reply to this post by SteelDragon
I have been watching the goings on in mex through this site and others for 5 yrs and this story of the family that got pulled over is total bs. I remember reading the exact story in a us site a border newspaper iam trying to find it and if i do i will direct you all to it. In this story which happened around the cdg zeta split the story was of a us citizen who was working in monterrey and his vehicle was carjacked by masked men , while walking for 2 hrs he was stopped and questioned by another group of sicarios and he told them what had happened they believed him and took him to a location where several suvs were also there was a pit with about 5 beheaded human remains, he was asked if any of the vehicles was his which he replied that one was they said take it and go we are cdg we dont and the people who jacked your car were zetas they have been doing this on this highway but now they wont be doing so anymore,
So unfortunately this dragon guy is a liar with that story and probably hasnt even been to mex.
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