Are Americans Safer In Mexico Than At Home?

Every week or so I get asked, 'Is it safe to go to Mexico?' I had always said, if you're thoughtful about where you go, yes. But after my most recent trip there, I'm changing my answer... to a question:

Do you think it's safe to go to Texas?

To be clear, violence in Mexico is no joke. There have been over 47,000 drug-related murders alone in the past five years. Its murder rate - 18 per 100,000 according to this United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime report - is more than three times the US rate of 4.8 per 100,000. Though Mexican tourism is starting to bounce back, Americans appear more reluctant to return than Canadians and Brits (5.7 million Americans visited in 2011, down 3% from 2010 - and, according to Expedia, more than four of five bookings were adults going without children). Many who don't go cite violence as the reason.