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In Cancun it is normal (and essential) to have iron bars on the outside of all windows on the main floor and perhaps next floor up too. This deters thieves from breaking into your home when you are not there.

Now everyone usually goes into panic mode when I tell them this. “Are there roving bandits in the streets just waiting to rob me?” Yes and No! The fact that everyone has protection on their windows and doors makes you stand out like a sucker if you have nothing. You might as well put a sign out that says, “hey guys... this house is foolishly unprotected and is the easiest target in all of Cancun!”

Canadians (like me) have the hardest time understanding this. Quite simply, you must keep your house or apartment equal in safety to the rest of the street. In Canada you can leave your house unlocked if you live in the country and for the next 20 years nobody is going to break in. In Mexico they will break in for sure! The gardener is going to see that you have a nice new 28” TV and a lot of CD’s and that you tend to go to work every day at exactly 8:03am and don’t return until 4:06pm. Guess where he will be at 8:04am?

I want to stress that Cancun is NOT full of bandits waiting to kill you or rob you. It is not a place that is fearful in any way. The objective though is to be security concious. Don’t open the front door to just anyone. Ask through the window what they want. You must think security at all times. We were very stupid when we first moved here and sure enough... 3 guys showed up one day and said they wanted some water. We were so lax then that the front door usually was wide open letting in a breeze. We only locked it at bedtime. Well, one of them had a gun and when my wife (now ex-wife.. an unrelated story) let out a scream they took off and got nothing. Since then I put up gates on the garage, keep my door locked at all times, and am much more “street smart.” I've have had little problems since.

This could happen in New York, Toronto, London, or Berlin so it is no different here. Just don’t attract attention with a lot of gold jewelery, fancy things, and be observant but not so much as to be in panic mode all the time. Cancun is very safe and you will generally have no problems if you watch out for stupid things. Again, I want to dispell the myth that Mexico is full of bandits just waiting to kill you or steal everything you own. Virtually all Mexicans are warm hearted and are not out to get you like you see on the movies.

 
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