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Playa Del Carmen Crime Guide for Residents

playa del carmen crime Police helping motorist in Playa Del Camen

Is Playa Del Carmen crime something to worry about as a resident? What things do you need to be aware of? We wanted to write this article to keep residents aware of current trends and what things you might need to keep aware of. This article is not meant to scare anyone, we just mention some of the things that everyone in the world has to deal with living in a city.

Note: If you are a tourist you will want to read our article focusing on is Playa Del Carmen safe? This can also be good for residents to read as well, especially if you like to go out at night.

Playa Del Carmen Crime Guide

Everyone wants to feel safe where they live. People also want to know what crime is like in a city before moving there because this can be a deciding factor. Safety is a concern to everyone. So what is the lowdown on Playa Del Carmen crime? Here are the things you need to be aware of and the things you don’t really need to worry about. We also add practical things for you to help you avoid some crimes.

Home burglary in Playa Del Carmen

Lets start with your home.  This is where you should aways feel secure. You also spend a a lot of time there. Having someone enter your home when you are there or not can be such a violation of your space. What is the situation with home burglary  in Playa Del Carmen?

The truth is, it happens. This is perhaps the most common crime that residents have to deal with. The really unspoken truth is  the chance of catching a burglar is very slim. When a home robbery happens the police do not come in with a forensics team and dust for prints. A report is taken down and most likely you will see the police patrol more frequently for the next week. This does not seem to be a big deterrent to someone who habitually tries to break into other peoples homes. And that is why break-ins are an issue of safety in Playa Del Carmen.

This is not a matter to avoid moving to Playa Del Carmen or to make anyone to move away. It is just good to say it out loud that it happens and good to be aware so you can help prevent it. How often? Well most people know of someone that had their house entered. So the best defense is to understand why this happens. We will discus this next.

Crimes of opportunity

Many of the home burglaries are a crime of opportunity. What does this mean? Burglaries in Playa Del Carmen are not very pre-meditated jewelry heist. They happen sometimes because a person left the door or window open, or they see a way to make a quick grab of something.

As Playa Del Carmen grows, there are growing pains. One of those pains are people moving to Playa from other parts of the country that do not have the same morals as others. Another factor is changing neighborhoods. Sometimes you will have a neighborhood that has been the same for a period of time. They have basic houses and all the sudden a multi million condo or condos goes up next to it. In some shoulder neighborhoods you can see trends of people coming into them and there seems to be more crime because the friction.

 Playa Del Carmen Crime

A new condo building going up in Playa Del Carmen.

How to prevent crime to your home

So now that you know it happens, what can you do to prevent it? Here are some very specific things that you can do to deter theft from your home.

  • Think like a thief. Look at your home or condo and see what the weak points are? Is there easy access to second floor windows that perhaps do not have protectors?
  • Know your condo management or security people that work in your neighborhood. We have mentioned it in another guide that it is good to ask people that work in the condo office what crime is like in that neighborhood. Sometimes these people and maintenance people will give you a good picture of what happens.
  • Find out what security is in place in your neighborhood. Is your building installing cameras soon? Are their neighborhood watches? Do all the lights around work?

For many more tips on keeping your home safe see our article here.

Your online safety in Mexico

We wanted to mention some popular scams in Mexico that can fool some. This crime can be avoided once you know about it and take some steps to prevent it.

  1. You get a phone call saying a relative is in need of help and they ask for money. They ask for money to be wired or transferred. This  popular scam is done when people get your phone number or randomly call you. Sometimes people only guess that you have certain relatives and make up a story. It comes in several forms like a relative has had a car accident or someone is even kidnapped. This scam can catch you off guard and the confusion might move you to give money to these scammers. Knowing where your family is and keeping personal information out of easy reach is good for avoiding this crime. If you have a doubt that there might actually be a kidnapping because the people describe what the person is where on that day or other details, take your time. Ask questions and take a moment to call the relatives cell phone. 99.99999999999999999999% of the time this is a scam.
  2. You get official looking emails from Mexican Banks, Government agencies or credit card companies. This can be confusing especially if your Spanish is not the best. You might click on a link in the email. This is a phishing scam to get your personal information. It is good to familiarize yourself with what emails you get from your bank and what they say.

In cases like these it is important to keep your personal information private. Keeping Facebook settings private and not putting too much information out there helps make it harder for scammers to call with exact details.

One recent example of people giving away their personal information was in a mall with a survey. They asked several questions including phone number. Later they used the information to call the people for money and the survey was a total front. Again be careful with your personal information.

Playa Del Carmen crime concerning driving

The is the second main area we will look at in regards to crime in Playa Del Carmen. We will talk about three areas to look at.

  1. Bike crime.
  2. Moped safety issues.
  3. Car crime.

Bike in Playa Del Carmen

It is a fairly well known fact that bike theft is common in Playa Del Carmen. In our bike guide to Playa Del Carmen we recommend a good u-lock. Chains and cheap locks are no match for a bike thief. They can be cut in seconds.

Besides getting a good lock for your bike you can do the following things to reduce crime to you.

  • Buy a bike to fit your needs and not over it. Most people only use a bike to go around town. You most likely don’t need a triathlete bike. If you are going to be parking it around town, a basic bike is less of a target and less to loose if it gets stolen.
  • Park bikes at home inside. Even inside your fence, a bike can be a target
  • Paint your bike a crazy color. Having a unique color will make it easier to find and less desirable to steal. Although we should mention many bikes are painted after being stolen.
  • Many bikes in Playa Del Carmen are similar in make and shape. You can etch or write your name on the bike somewhere. In case it is taken and you think you see it, you can check.
  • Do not ride your bike on the pedestrian section of 5th Avenue or park it there. Not only is it not legal to ride, the police might take your bike when you lock it there. That is not allowed either, albeit an little known law.

Issues with Moped, motorcycles and scooters

Sometimes these get stolen but it is more likely parts can be taken. Since these are easy targets, it can be hard to prevent. Here are some tips for owning a scooter so you can avoid theft.

  • Try to park it at your home off the street. Out of sight, out of mind sort of philosophy.
  • At night is when more theft of parts occurs. If you are out at night park in a well lit area.
  • Get to know your scooter. Many of the batteries are easy to steal. Think of way to make taking off mirrors or battery harder.

For more on having a scooter in Playa Del Carmen see our guide here.

Playa Del Carmen crime

Cars in Playa Del Carmen and crime

The good news is that cars are rarely ever stolen in the Rivera Maya. The only thing that many get taken are your hubcaps. This is why you see many people have a plastic tie on them which makes it harder to pop them off.

The main thing you have to worry about with your car is being involved in an accident. Accidents happen but it can be a crime when someone tries to blame you for it. Here are ways you can be prepared in case you have an accident.

  • Make sure you have your phone with you, this comes in handy if you have to contact your insurance and also take photo.
  • Take photos of the accident and even video.
  • Make sure you have insurance that covers liability in Mexico. This is the law and a crime if you do not have it.
  • If you are in an accident with a taxi (more common then it should be) make sure you take extra care especially if it was not your fault.
  • If one of the two parties does not admit fault, you should not move the cars.
  • Traffic police will try to get both parties to come to a settlement. Make sure you understand all papers that are made and don’t rush to any agreement that is not correct.

Do not add to crime

What happens when you get a traffic ticket in Mexico? It is best to pay it. Do not commit a crime and add to issues with bribery.

Most of the time when you are pulled over you are only given a warning. Some people freak out and automatically get ready to give some money out the window. Not only is this illegal, it also adds to corruption and you probably have just given away money you did not need to pay.

Playa Del Carmen Crime you do not need to worry about

It is always nice to mention the good news as well. As mentioned above you do not need to really worry about car theft. This is very uncommon. Here are some crimes that are not prevalent in Playa Del Carmen.

  • Pickpocketing on 5th Avenue. Remarkably one would think that with the amount of tourist on 5th Avenue that this might be a temptation for thieves, but no.
  • Murder and assault happen most as domestic violence  or by associate. So this crime is likely not to effect you.
  • Hijacking a car- this is unheard of.
  • Drugs. They are offered on 5th Avenue to tourist that look like they would buy them. The actual rate of drug users that live locally is very low. This reduces drug related crime. Drug organizations for the most part know that having  a safe environment for tourist is good for business. Yes there are drug organizations but this is something that will not effect your life living in Playa Del Carmen.
  • Rape is not too common but does happen. Violent rape and attacks from unknown people are not heard of that much. The one area where unwanted sexual attention can come from is going out drinking. This can lead to rape or remorse over a drunken night and sexual encounter. Most residents that live in Playa Del Carmen do not go out parting heavily, so rape is not an issue that really affects residents.  Even among tourist is not a major issue and no more of an issue then any party town in the world.
  • Kidnapping is really unheard of.


We hope you are more aware at issues in Playa Del Carmen concerning crime. It is an unfortunate thing that we have to deal with in paradise. Playa Del Carmen is a fairly safe place to live and the Yucatan Peninusla overall is very safe to live in.

We feel by not sweeping it under the carpet and keeping it in the open, it can help people prevent crime and also be more prepared. Reporting crime will help keep it on the radar of officials and hopefully move them to take measures to deal with it more.

If you have any comment about Playa Del Carmen crime or safety please comment below. Are there any tips you would like us to include in this article?

2 Comments on Playa Del Carmen Crime Guide for Residents

  1. I have been living in Playa for 5 years now and have seen some changes. It is hard to tell because when you are here for a while you hear more stories of crime and then it seems to build in your head. I would say that home break ins are the number one thing that is troubling. I am glad your article highlights some of this issues in our city so residents can be aware.

  2. I commend you for finally saying something about the crime here. One thing to look for is there are mang young gangs working the area. Sometimes in pencil on the outer wall of your house is gang code for when you leave,how many live there etc. If you see strangers just watching houses or apartments take a foto,call police. Neighbor watch is rwally grabbing hold because most times the police are involved. Drugging women in clubs is common 12th. 20 av. Has become snatch and grab on motos. Don’t leave cameras,computers etc in your car or you will have a smashed window and lost property. As anywhere be aware of your surroundings. Thanks Seth for bringing this out in open.

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