One of our younger Executives is also a government certified tour guide. Which is why he’s banned from the intra-office Mexican trivia games, but he does come up with some very interesting facts. The other day he informed me that according to the official statistics, Los Cabos is the second safest city in Mexico. From what I read these days, that would also make us the second safest city on the North American continent.
Despite the bashing of the U.S. media, who don’t seem to be aware that Cabo is about 1,000 miles from the border violence and that you are more apt to be gunned down in San Diego or LA than in Los Cabos, Cabo is a very safe and secure place to live or vacation. Crime and violence are simply not things we even think about down here. However I did have a question this week that makes me want to discuss the matter.
In his wonderful satire The Truth, Terry Prachett’s hero is a fledgling journalist struggling with the difference between truth and honesty. Similarly when I was asked if there are any robberies in a certain neighbor I was torn between telling the truth or being honest. I’ll explain.
The neighborhood in question is Pedregal, an upscale gated community overlooking Cabo San Lucas. In the newer sections the median home price is well into the seven figures, no one blinks an eye at an asking price of four million. Ask you can imagine there is 24/7 security both at the gate and circulating around the community. Yet the truth is that there were a few robberies last year. Not burglaries, but robberies. My ex-cop friend explains that the difference is that a burglary happens when no one is at home; a robbery is when you meet the culprit in person. So that there were robberies in 2009 is the truth, but it’s not honesty.
Honesty is a little tougher. You see, many of the homes here are rented to vacationers when the owner is out of town. And in EACH AND EVERY case, the victim was a renter. No one can remember the last time there was a crime in Pedregal that involved an owner. So what’s the difference? Well, it’s the old ‘left their brains at the border’ phenomenon. In other words, they behave in ways they would never think of back home. And we’re not just talking about singing Karoke versions of LaBamba, either.
In all but one case those robberies were situations where the victim went down to the bars and brought someone they just met back to the house they were renting. Usually a prostitute but sometimes a drug dealer or maybe just someone they met at the bar that night. So you bring someone you know is on the wrong side of the law to begin with into a vacant house? And when you come to a few hours later you’re surprised to find your money and valuables missing? The honest question is: were you a victim of a crime or your own bad judgment?
In the remaining case a clever (you’ve got to give him that) thief climbed onto the pool deck carrying a pool skimmer. The renters were all lounging around, and as he started cleaning the pool he chatted them up. Such a pleasant and interesting young man! When he finished the pool he mentioned that he needed to sweep the patio, could he just pop inside to get the broom? Be right back, want me to fetch a beer for anyone while I’m at it? You guessed it: when he didn’t reappear in about 10 minutes the renters went looking for him. He’d grabbed some wallets and cameras and other items from the counters as he walked out of the house and made his escape. When the property manager was called he told them their regular pool service wasn’t until Saturday. But they never thought to check to see if this guy should be here, and let him into the house.
Cabo is quite certainly the safest place I’ve lived, and there have been quite a few. But my point here is that even a safe city has its limitations if you take ridiculous chances. Cabeños are known for their friendliness and warmth, it’s true. And honesty as well! It’s normal for us to leave cash or jewelry laying about… it never disappears. I’ve had bagboys chase me down in the CCC parking lot because they a small item fell out of the cart or off the conveyor belt. Just this week our Tomatoes message board had a post from someone thanking a stranger for returning their lost wallet: with all the cash and credit cards still in it. Cars are often left unlocked, and nothing happens. If you want a safe place to vacation, or to live, you can’t beat Cabo. But please, do remember to use your common sense!
Carol Billups is Broker/Owner of REALTY EXECUTIVES Los Cabos. A Certified Home Marketing Specialist, she has enjoyed working with both buyers and sellers for nine years and still thinks hers is the best job on earth. She is also the real estate columnist for Los Cabos Magazine and the real estate co-ordinator for the Los Cabos Now program on CaboMil FM (www.cabomil.com.mx). You can read more of her articles on www.reloscabos.com. You can reach her from the U.S. or Canada at 1-760-481-7694, or in Cabo at 044-624-147-7541.
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© 2010 Carol S. Billups