An American named John Paul Abeel, 67, was found dead in Jocotepec on the western shores of Lake Chapala on Thursday, February 20. Mexican authorities are treating the death as a homicide – he was found strangled, with one of his arms severed – and three arrests have been made. This comes after the murder of a Canadian couple in nearby Ajijic, also on the shores of Chapala, earlier this month, and the murder of the American Bentley Main, who was stabbed to death in Chapala in March, 2013.
It is stories like these that have most expats who live or stay for extended periods of time in Mexico spending a lot of time answering a single question from friends and family back home: is Mexico “safe”.
In asking the question, there is an assumption that we all know what the word means, and that we share the same definition and risk tolerance (usually falling within a range that would be acceptable at home). Not so. There is also an assumption that we assess risk more-or-less objectively. Also not so.