The department of public security (SPPPTM) in Los Cabos has made the announcement that they are currently understaffed in relation to the current population in the area. This is a surprise to those who follow the security situation in Los Cabos, as it holds one of the greatest public safety records in the whole of Mexico.
The Situation In Context
It should be clarified that this admittance of being understaffed by the local authorities isn’t due to a reduction in police numbers. Rather, it’s a result of the booming population growth currently taking place in Los Cabos as Mexicans and expats move to the area.
The department of public security defines the police as being fully staffed when their officer numbers are equal to 2.5% of the population in the municipality. Currently, officer numbers equate to just 1.5%.
Is This Reflected In Crime Stats?
So far, this understaffing has not been reflected in the crime stats. Los Cabos has consistently improved public safety for both tourists and locals over the past decade and has seen massive reductions in the most serious crimes, such as homicide and burglary.
What’s Being Done
The head of the department of public security, Captain Jesús Antonio Gómez Rodríguez, assures the public that this issue is not unattended and that they are continually training new officers to meet the 2.5% target that is set.
He states that this is an issue affecting the whole of Baja California Sur, and every effort is being made to rectify the situation.
Travelers Shouldn’t Worry
Los Cabos is a very safe destination for travelers. In fact, it ranks as safer than many U.S. cities and is one of the shining lights in Mexico for public safety.
To put the safety of travelers into perspective, the homicide rate of tourists in Mexico is an almost negligible 0.39 per 100,000 visitors. This means that American travelers in Los Cabos are at less risk of this than in any U.S. city with a population over 100,000.
What’s more, many of the homicides that do occur are often linked to criminal activity, meaning the number of genuine tourists that are unfortunate enough to be part of this statistic is likely even lower.
To give a comparison, Long Beach in California made it into the U.S. top 35 safest cities in 2022, yet Los Cabos beats it on safety in almost every metric, including perceived safety walking alone in the daytime as well as at night.
Additional Safety Initiatives In Los Cabos
Los Cabos doesn’t solely rely on police officers for public safety. While this can be the norm elsewhere in Mexico, the situation here is much more proactive.
The following are some examples of public safety initiatives Los Cabos has adopted:
- 300 new security cameras in tourist hotspots – Los Cabos already has many security cameras in operation, but the authorities aren’t resting and recently announced this increase to deter criminal activity.
- Panic buttons – These are being placed at tourist hotspots as well as known problem areas, and they have a direct connection to local police dispatchers. They call for an immediate police response and are much faster than dialing 911 and giving a location.
- The use of the military to patrol tourist areas – The military takes a proactive role in the internal security of Mexico, and they add a strong layer of security and deterrence to Los Cabos.
These are just the most recent initiatives from the past 3 months that complement the impressive rate of improvements made by the authorities. In fact, the Los Cabos authorities have been working with law enforcement agents from the U.S. to learn how to improve their operations. Showing a humble dedication to evolving past the standard of their national sister agencies.
Geography Plays A Role
The location of Los Cabos undoubtedly plays a role in its safety. When you remove flights and ferries from the equation, the destination is easier to reach from the U.S. border than it is from most of Mexico. Being on a peninsula insulates the whole state from much of the country’s other crime.
This was seen recently when conflict flared up in the state of Sinaloa. While it’s just a short trip across the ‘Gulf of California’ between the two areas, Los Cabos saw no spillover as it was protected by this natural buffer and the extremely strict security measures in place at airports and ferry ports.
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