As a frequent flier to Latin America, I often get e-mails from readers asking the same question: Is it safe to travel to Mexico? How dangerous is Brazil? Should I allow my daughter to visit Colombia? I don’t blame them for worrying: there are enough contradictory statistics to confuse — and scare — anyone.
Just last week, as Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and other cruise lines canceled calls to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, citing an escalation of violence in that resort city, two new reports making the rounds on the internet seemed to reach totally different conclusions about crime rates in Latin America.
The Igarapé Institute, a Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, think tank specializing in security issues, issued a “Homicide Monitor” about murder rates in 219 countries around the world, and said that Latin America is one of the most dangerous regions in the world.
Latin America has only 8 percent of the world’s population, but concentrates 33 percent of the world’s homicides every year. Of the 20 most dangerous countries in the world, 14 are in Latin America and the Caribbean, it said.