Caught giving misleading info on Mexico for Canada’s gain?

Jim Scherrer has written some great articles about Vallarta, especially why its a great place to have a second home or retire here. His latest article is great, as he’s caught some guy putting very misleading information about Mexico and crime. And even more interesting is why it seems Mr. Armstrong is doing this and for who. Read on!
The Facts Concerning Violent Crimes Committed Against US Tourists in Mexico
By: Jim Scherrer
This article is prepared in response to an extremely misleading and obviously biased piece recently published on a site known as and shown under the topic of Official Spin.; and spin it is!
It was written by Derek Armstrong and posted on his website,” Crime Report USA, as follows:
Mexico the Most Dangerous Country for Americans
Wednesday, December 23, 2009 at 3:39PM
U.S. Department of State Warns Largest Number of Non Natural Deaths Occur in Mexico.
Derek Armstrong, Chief Crime Correspondent
Crime Report USA: Mexico is overwhelmingly the most dangerous place for non-service Americans, topping the list of destinations with the highest “Non Natural Deaths”, according to the US Department of State:
Top 5 Countries for Non Natural Deaths
Mexico 651
Iraq 82
Costa Rica 69
Thailand 67
Germany 63
Since shocking and misleading headlines such as “Mexico the Most Dangerous Country for Americans” are designed to be attention grabbing, tourists that read such nonsense might want to do their homework before considering vacation destinations in Mexico; they must understand the facts and not be frightened by ridiculous fear tactics put forth by those with ulterior motives.
At first glance, the above article seems to indicate 651 non natural deaths occurred in Mexico last year, however, when the reader digs deeper into the article he finds that the data was obtained over a three-year period from 2006 through 2008, resulting in about 220 non-natural US deaths per year in Mexico. Of the 220 non natural deaths per year, approximately 50 are homicides, the balance being auto accidents, drownings, suicides, etc. per″ US Department of State.
Next, the reader needs to understand that approximately 20 million Americans visit Mexico each year, far more than any other country in the world per the” US Dept. Commerce. Therefore, we know that about 50 individuals out of every 20 million US visitors to Mexico are murdered during a violent crime every year while in Mexico.
I went and checked Wikipedia and it confirms 20 million visitors to Mexico. I found out there’s 1.7 million to Costa Rica (rather similar vacation destination to Mexico). Where supposedly 69 people died over a three-year period. That’s 23 people a year. With 1.7 million visitors, that means you have a .001% chance of getting killed if you visit Costa Rica. Do the same math for Mexico and it works out you have a .001% of getting killed in Mexico – same as Costa Rica. IF you buy Mr. Armstrong’s story. But keep going Jim:
Okay, let’s take it a step further; let’s determine where in Mexico these violent crimes take place. When reviewing the data presented by the US Department of State, you’ll see that the majority of these violent crimes occur in the border towns such as Ciudad Juarez and Tijuana. Therefore, the next time you plan your winter vacation you might want to avoid these areas; they’re probably about as dangerous as Chicago, Detroit, or Los Angeles! Instead of vacationing in beautiful downtown Juarez, you might want to consider a resort destination such as Cancun, Cozumel, Cabo San Lucas, Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo, Acapulco, Huatulco, or Puerto Vallarta.
That makes sense. So that percentage would go down ever further, if you went to Vallarta instead of Tijuana…
As 13 year residents of Puerto Vallarta, we can attest to the safety of this magnificent resort destination south of the border where the possession of hand guns is prohibited and violent crime is virtually nonexistent. For proof of this claim, we’ll first determine the number of US citizens that visit PV annually and then get the facts related to violent crime in the area.
There are in excess of 200 cruise ships that visit PV from the US every year with an average of more than 2,000 passengers each; i.e. approximately 400,000 passengers arriving annually. During the six month “high season”, PV receives more than 50 international flights daily. Let’s assume that 40 are from the US carrying an average of 100 passengers on each plane; that’s more than 700,000 passengers arriving by air during the six winter months. Next, let’s assume that 30 planes arrive daily in PV during the six summer months of which 20 are from the US; that’s another 350,000 passengers arriving by air during the “low season”. Finally, we’ll assume that another 50,000 people drive to PV every year. Totaling these conservative numbers, we find that at least 1.5 million tourists from the US visit Vallarta annually. A number of websites such as” put the total number of visitors at 2 million, others such as”   peg it at 2.2 million and assuming at least 75% are from the US, our estimate of 1.5 million US visitors to PV per year is quite accurate.
Now, let’s return to the data from the US Department of State. You will notice that during 2008, there were merely five non natural deaths of US visitors in Puerto Vallarta and only one was a homicide. (Chances are that he was doing something or involved with something that he shouldn’t have been!). That’s one violent death out of 1.5 million visitors for the year or less than 0.7 per million.
Five deaths with 1.5 million visitors! That takes my ratio down to .0003 – way below Costa Rica (its starting to sound like a dangerous place this Costa Rica – I wonder if Mr. Thompson will pick up on these stats and write another story?)
But the story gets even more interesting. Jim got curious as to who this Mr. Thompson guy really is and sent me an update…
I´ve just finished a little detective work on Derek Armstrong, the author of the crap that´s being spread all over the Internet in an attempt to annihilate tourism in Mexico. Obviously this guy has an ulterior motive so I decided to determine what it is!
As I mentioned in my article, he´s with Crime Report USA which sounds like a pretty harmless deal. He´s a well published author and the founder of Persona Corp in Ontario, Canada. Here is the link that ties Armstrong to Persona.
Now that we´ve established who he is, we must ask, “Why is he trying to destroy tourism to Mexico?” Well, it just so happens that Persona Corp is very proud of their clients; you´ll notice that their client list includes the Ontario Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Recreation, a half a dozen real estate developers, and many other companies in Ontario that would love to see Americans cancel their plans to Mexico and visit Ontario instead.
Amazing! And I also noticed Jim, that Mr. Armstrong also does work for the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television, as he also led us to believe in his article that making films in Mexico is dangerous as well.
After all, Mexico enjoys 20 million US tourists annually while Canada has 13 million, the UK with 3 million, and both Italy and France with 2 million, i.e. Mexico has almost as many US visitors as the next four countries combined. Derek Armstrong is a marketing man for Ontario and as such is doing a very subtle job, hiding under the cloak as a crime reporter, at attracting some of the 20 million Mexico visitors to Canada.
Pretty nifty, huh?
Nifty? I love it! Are you going to call him on it Jim? You sure should!

10 Responses to Caught giving misleading info on Mexico for Canada’s gain?

  1. Brock says:

    Nice Catch Jim!

    Strange that Mr. Armstrong isn’t as concerned about the safety of his own countrymen in Mexico as he is about Americans!

  2. Sherri says:

    Good Job! Yes, both Canada and the US want to see those tourist dollars stay at home, not be spent in Mexico.
    It burns me up to read how ¨dangerous¨ Mexico is, as we have lived in Vallarta for 14 years and feel 100 times more safe here than we ever did living in the best neighborhoods of Houston, Texas!

  3. david lord says:

    I appreciate the article for what it confirms, as a U.S. veteran having found an excelent life in Mexico I have found the reports of violence in Mexico absurd but unable to verify my opinion with actual evidence , so my thanks for the article and its writter
    david and susan lord/wiseman

  4. BajaRick says:

    Thank you for this article. It is very important that people wanting to visit Mexico receive accurate information. Tourism does help the Mexican Economy but it also helps U.S. businesses that deal with Mexico Travel.

  5. propmoe says:

    Only in Canada Eh.

    I have been going to Vallarta for longer than I care to remember. My children back then loved Mexico and still come with us. Our next trip is with our first grandchild now one year old. Walking around at night in Vallarta is a wonderful experience.

    Mr. Armstrong would you care to escort me on a nice evening stroll around Toronto? Then again just go on your own.

  6. Juan says:

    Great Job Jim. I will love to see Mr. Armstrong response to your comment. But I do get my hopes up to much.

    Good day.

  7. […] in the Washington Post. How people can play with statistics! It was just a few weeks ago that one writer was using stats to show that Mexico was the most dangerous place in the world for Americans. These […]

  8. Kate says:

    Mexico has it corruption for sure. But it seems Armstrong has his stats obviously wrong ito murder rates. South AFrica would top that list of 25 000 a year, including a genocide against whites in South Africa. Yip there are nasty politiians in the world who manipulates the truth for own greed and gain. Although I must say the prices of property in Mexico is just too high – Mexico is still 3rd world and not what I would consider a first world country. So why are we paying first world prices and above in a 3rd word country. Oh please do not tell me the beaches and this and that. I can buy a place for cheaper on the French Rivera almost. So developers are pretty greedy in Mexico and specifically in Puerto Vallarta. Also to trust people around here is pretty a scary part too.

  9. Mike says:

    It is in the best interest for the US Gov to maintain the scare tactics regarding Mexico let us not forget what they did in Panama. They are the scary ones and if you want to talk corruption all the way to the top then the US is your pick

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