Crime warning Ocotlan??

Old Aug 1st, 2004, 02:07 PM
  #1  
Beethoven
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Crime warning Ocotlan??

The following was just posted on Frommer. I was shocked to read the story-the looting of the rental car: well I understand that a shiny rental car might be a tip off to dishonest people-however, the treatment of the 2 European travelers by indigenous was very unnerving to read. Any comments on this story? I was looking forward to Market day at Ocotlan--now I have my doubts!
------------------------------------------"We just returned from Mexico minus our luggage! We decided to stop in Ocotlan de Morelos on our way from Oaxaca to Puerta Angel. It was a Friday which was their market day, so we thought it would be neat to stop and see it.

We parked our rent-a- car on a street near some shops and about 20 yards down the street from a police station. Our car had Mexico City plates, but no rent-a-car stickers. All of our doors and our trunk were locked and NOTHING was in the inside cab of the car. We went to the market for one hour . When we returned , we opened the trunk and all of our luggage and our spare tire were gone! It seemed to be a fairly professional job because no windows were broken.

While in the police station, we met a couple of guys from Europe who had been pick-pocketed in the market. They were in an area of the market which wasn't very crowded when all of the sudden several middle-aged/older indigenous women crowded them, pushed them, and picked their pockets.

I would avoid this type of hassle and not go to Ocotlan, and definitely NOT on market day. By the way, the Europeans and my husband and I have traveled extensively around the world, so it is not like we were new to travel and the safety precautions required."

 
Old Aug 1st, 2004, 02:24 PM
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You know, I read a lot about pickpockets in Europe all the time - Rome, Barcelona and other cities. I assume it's the locals who are the pickpockets. That doesn't mean that I wouldn't go to those cities.
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Old Aug 1st, 2004, 03:15 PM
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Beethoven, I realize I sounded a little harsh with my previous answer. I guess you have to do what you feel is best. I've travelled a fair amount in Mexico and I generally feel fairly safe there. Good luck with your trip!
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Old Aug 1st, 2004, 03:36 PM
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Beethoven
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Susan in Toronto Thanks for the 2nd message. I spend a great deal of time in Boston and I also go occasionally to NYC. I think I'm pretty aware of the facts of life traaveling in the US.
I guess the single factor that affected me was the group of indigenous women surrounding and robbing 2 travelers!
Best wishes
 
Old Aug 1st, 2004, 05:06 PM
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As I have said here before I have been traveling to Oaxaca and throughout Oaxaca State for years without any problems. As far as the theft from the car, I have always known it is unwise to leave a car in an unsecure area in most places in Mexico. Proximity to a police station won't help secure your car. As far as the pickpocketing, several people bumping into you and someone stealing your things is a common senario. In particular on a market day when people from all over the Oaxaca valley are in town. So- watch your personal belongings, use a bus or taxi so you don't have the bother of trying to find secure parking and you should have a great time.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 12:00 PM
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No amount of precaution guarantees your car will not be stolen or vandalized or robbed in Mexico or anywhere else, but here are some parking tips that were passed on to me when I moved to Mexico.

If valet parking is available, use it (even if you never would at home and even in the daytime). In the larger cities, many hotels and restaurants offer valet service. Most of the companies are professional and even if your car ends up being parked on the street there is someone keeping an eye on it. Try not to leave luggage in the car, but if you must, take your bag with laptop, camera etc. with you.

If there is no valet, try to find a nearby lot. Many hotels offer hourly parking, which is not always cheap but usually pretty secure. Other lots don't look like much and may not even be paved, but looking after the cars is this person's livelihood so they take it pretty seriously. If you have luggage try to park with the trunk/boot backed up to a wall, fence, etc.

The last resort is a very Mexican thing - use one of car-watching guys found on most busy streets. They often block off parking spots with rope, chairs, etc. to offer to their customers for a fee. Don't give them the keys. Tell them roughly how long you'll be. Pay maybe 10 pesos upfront and another 10 or 20 when you return and the car is still intact. The Mexico City government is trying to get rid of these guys, but I've found they provide a very useful service.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 02:10 PM
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I was at the market in Ocotlan several years ago. I went in a van with a few others from my hotel. I remember that two Britons in the group were robbed at the market-one had his wallet lifted and the other had things taken from his backpack. Never take valuables to these kinds of places-- anywhere.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2004, 02:46 PM
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Beethoven
You have a lot more guts and nerve than I do.

I will not rent a car in Mexico
Nor do I rent in Costa Rica.

I usually get a private guide and he takes us everywhere and I do not have to worry about anything being stolen.

You know I just watched 20/20 the other day and one of the topics was about pick pockets in Mexico ,Barcelona, Las Vegas etc.

They are slick and work in groups.

I know that people rent a car in Barcelona and Mexico and Costa Rica and have not had any thefts.....good for them, but I still will not rent.

what a terrible thing to come to your car and all is gone..
And I feel the Mexican Police can and will do very little .

Good Luck on your next travels.

Percy
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