Before I went to Mexico City I heard that question a lot – is Mexico City safe?
As with many things in life – my answer is – it depends!
If you arrive at MEX airport and take a taxi (or better Uber) downtown you will see lots of poor neighborhoods and venturing into those randomly isn’t safe. In fact Mexico City has huge suburbs that are anything but safe.
However the situation changes once you enter the inner city neighborhoods. If you follow my recommendations on Things to do in Mexico City you will be in one of those neighborhoods:
– Zona Rosa
– Reforma & Polanco
These neighborhoods look more like Madrid than the favela stricken suburbs. They are leafy and have a hipster feel to it. In fact Condesa and Coyoacan are some of my favorite places in all of America.
There are lots of police patrols (think about a police car every 5 minutes coming around the block) and there are precious few signs of crime.
The ‘most dangerous’ area of Mexico City that you will see as a tourist is probably ‘Centro Historico’ which has its share of shady areas and pickpockets.
However if you use common sense you will be safe in all these neighborhoods. Some areas don’t have a lot of street lights so while Reforma is probably a safe place all through the night – some areas of Condesa get really empty and dark at night.
While I do not recommend using the Mexico City Metro too often (it’s very crowded at times and not the cleanest) I felt pretty safe there even during rush hour.
So in summary for most tourist activities during the day you can lower your guard and enjoy the city – you won’t be bothered by touts much and pickpocketing isn’t an issue (or any violent crime for that matter). At night you should get a taxi (or better an Uber) to go from place to place – while in Polanco and Reforma you can still work around with minimal hassle or safety issues.