Is Tijuana Safe? Crime Rates & Safety Report

Updated On November 7, 2023
Tijuana, Mexico
Safety Index:
* Based on Research & Crime Data
User Sentiment:
* Rated 60 / 100 based on 7 user reviews.

Tijuana is a city located in the Mexican state of Baja California, on the US-Mexico border.

It is Mexico’s most populous city with 2,181,000 people, and the 2nd largest city in the country after Mexico City.

The city has a long and rich history, dating back to pre-Columbian times, and is home to a diverse population of Indigenous peoples, as well as descendants of European immigrants.

If you enjoy a good drink, Tijuana is the place for you.

The city has a thriving nightlife, with many bars and nightclubs.

Just be sure to stick to well-known and tourist-friendly areas, as some neighborhoods are best avoided after dark.

Tijuana is also home to some excellent museums, including the world-famous Museum of Anthropology.

The city is a great base for exploring Baja California’s wine country, as well as the beaches and resorts on the Pacific coast.

Unfortunately, this city is also infamous for being a major center of drug trafficking and organized crime.

However, while it is certainly not without its risks, Tijuana is generally safe for travel if visitors take the right precautions by sticking to certain areas.

Warnings & Dangers in Tijuana

Overall Risk


If you must travel to Tijuana right now, it may be best to go on a well-protected tour. Tijuana was voted the most dangerous city for two years in a row. There are 134 murders per 100,000 people.  By the end of 2020, Tijuana accounted for at least 2,000 murders. More Americans living in the area have become targets of organized crime.

Transport & Taxis Risk


Taxi drivers may scam you in this city - especially if you hail one from the street. You can have a more stress-free ride using Uber. The location also makes it convenient to take your car over the border to drive down the peninsula. Be aware of pickpockets on public transport and in transportation stations.

Pickpockets Risk


In Tijuana, pickpockets are very active. In almost all cases, there is a lot of commotion and distractions going on around you, so it makes it easy for the thief to steal from you. Sometimes they work in groups. Don’t let strangers stop you on the street with a sob story.

Natural Disasters Risk


There is a small risk of hurricanes, but generally only during the months right before and after a hurricane season. The earthquake risk is very low in Tijuana. It is not an area where you will expect a blizzard or tornado either.

Mugging Risk


Muggings, kidnappings and similar street crimes have been known to happen in Tijuana, but they aren't very common occurrences, according to the residents of the city. Tourists are still highly advised to leave all valuables at home and remain vigilant at all times.

Terrorism Risk


The biggest threat in Tijuana is the drug cartel. Tijuana is not an area that has been the target of terrorist threats in recent history.

Scams Risk


You can get scammed in Tijuana very easily. Various people will try to take advantage of you, so just be aware of your surroundings and don't trust anyone that you don't know.

Women Travelers Risk


If you are a female tourist, there is a high risk that you will be harassed or even assaulted in Tijuana. It is highly recommended that you avoid walking alone at night and stick to well-known areas. Even if you prefer solo travel, it is best to travel in a group if you are female. Unfortunately, the city holds the record of having the highest femicide rate in the world.

Tap Water Risk


Don't drink water from the tap here! It's not safe. Stick to bottled water or drinks from sealed containers. Water in Mexico is often contaminated with parasites or bacteria, which can make you sick. When you buy bottled water, be sure to check the seal on the cap.

Safest Places to Visit in Tijuana

The tourist locations are the safest part of the city.

These include the downtown area, the Zona Rio, Zona Centro, Zona Norte, and the beaches.

The beaches are beautiful and offer great swimming, snorkeling, and diving opportunities.

When downtown, you can visit historic landmarks, museums, art galleries, and cultural centers.

The Zona Centro is home to many of the best bars and nightclubs, while the Zona Norte is known for its nightlife, cheap drinks, cheap accommodations, and – well- its red-light district.

It may not be the classiest part of the city, but you will be among many tourists.

Zona Rio has many specialty shops, craft beer bars, a casino, and cultural tours.

It is a major shopping hub in the area.

Places to Avoid in Tijuana

As with any city, it is best to avoid wandering around alone at night in areas that are not well-known or are known for being dangerous.

There are several bars and clubs in Tijuana that are safe to visit, but it is always best to check with your hotel concierge before venturing out.

The most dangerous neighborhoods in Tijuana are those that are known for being a center of drug trafficking and organized crime.

Avoid the eastern part of the city as it is simply not safe and will have little to see for a tourist.

Do your best to avoid neighborhoods such as Reforma, Sánchez Taboada, Camino Verde, and Mariano Matamoros.

Safety Tips for Traveling to Tijuana

Here is a list of 10 safety tips you should follow when visiting Tijuana:

  1. Be aware of your surroundings and be cautious when traveling to unfamiliar areas – Certain areas of the city are more dangerous than others. So get a map, and become familiar with the safe areas. Know where you are going at all times.
  2. Avoid walking alone at night – regardless of gender. If you are a woman, you must avoid traveling alone here. Come with a group if you can.
  3. It is not safe to drink water from the tap – Stick to bottled water or drinks from sealed containers. Water throughout Mexico has bacteria and parasites, which may give you long-term problems.
  4. Be careful about leaving visible items in your car – Thieves regularly break into and steal from cars here. If you need to leave something of value in your vehicle, be sure to conceal it as much as possible.
  5. Avoid buying counterfeit or pirated goods – while some tourists enjoy purchasing these items, they support organized crime and drug cartels who often use their profits for illegal activities such as human trafficking and murder.
  6. Don’t leave food or drinks unattended – if you are in a crowded area, be aware of your surroundings and who might approach you with the intent to drug your drink. While this does happen at all times of day, it is more common at night when many people are intoxicated.
  7. Be cautious about taking taxis – while Tijuana offers cheap transportation options, there have been reports of taxi drivers drugging passengers so that they can rob them upon arrival at their destination. Only use licensed taxi cabs and make sure that the meter is on when you get in the cab. If you can, try to stick with Uber so you won’t be hassled about the rate.
  8. Carry small bills and coins with you – as most shopkeepers do not carry much change.
  9. Avoid carrying large sums of cash and valuables with you – Leave most of your belongings in a safe place at your hotel or home.
  10. Avoid getting into confrontations with strangers – If you are feeling unsafe, walk away and find a safe place to go.

When traveling to any new destination, it is important to be aware of the potential dangers that may await you.

However, with a little bit of common sense and caution, most tourists experience no problems while visiting Tijuana.

So... How Safe Is Tijuana Really?

With a population of over 2 million people, Tijuana is the largest metropolitan area in northwestern Mexico.

Unfortunately, it’s most known for its high crime rate.

Like many border towns, violence has plagued this city for decades.

Cartels frequently traffic drugs throughout the region.

Tijuana continues to have problems with violent drug-related crimes and gang turf wars in poor neighborhoods.

As a tourist, you can avoid most crimes that will plague the average local.

However, a lack of common sense or being in the wrong place at the wrong time can easily make you a victim of a crime.

Kidnappings, robberies, and homicides have gone up in the last couple of years to the point where Tijuana has been dubbed the “Most Dangerous City In The World”.

More women are murdered here than in any other city, and more American residents are becoming targets of organized crime for kidnappings and home robberies.

If you go out for a drink in a touristy club, be extra vigilant about your drink so it does not get spiked.

Areas frequented by tourists are generally safe in Tijuana, but visitors should be aware of their surroundings at all times and avoid walking in bad neighborhoods at night.

You can still be a victim in a tourist zone if you are not being careful.

How Does Tijuana Compare?

CitySafety Index
Playa del Carmen69
Cabo San Lucas68
Mexico City45
Sao Paulo (Brazil)45
Rio de Janeiro (Brazil)43
Sofia (Bulgaria)73
Siem Reap (Cambodia)63
Phnom Penh (Cambodia)61
Niagara Falls (Canada)87

Useful Information



American and Canadian tourists can visit Tijuana for up to 72 hours without a visa. To stay beyond that time frame, make sure you stop at the immigration kiosk for a visa if you are coming by land. Mexico usually allows Americans to stay for up to six months on an approved cost-free Visa.



The currency of Mexico is the peso. One US dollar equals about 20 pesos. You can use your credit card in most major cities in Mexico, but it is best to carry cash.



The weather in Tijuana is typically warm and dry with average temperatures ranging from 18-25 degrees Celsius.



To fly to Tijuana, visitors can use the Tijuana International Airport (TIJ) which is about a 15-minute drive from the city center. You can also fly into San Diego, California, and take a short bus or taxi ride across the border.

Travel Insurance

Travel Insurance

It is best to come to Tijuana with some type of travel insurance for both health and property protection. Make sure you can seek medical care in case you accidentally get food poisoning, which is known to happen in Mexico. Since property crime can be rampant in Tijuana, having property coverage can give you peace of mind.

Click here to get an offer for travel insurance

Tijuana Weather Averages (Temperatures)

Jan 13° C
Feb 14° C
Mar 15° C
Apr 16° C
May 17° C
Jun 19° C
Jul 22° C
Aug 22° C
Sep 21° C
Oct 20° C
Nov 16° C
Dec 14° C
Choose Temperature Unit

Average High/Low Temperature

Temperature / MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Mexico - Safety by City

CitySafety Index
Cabo San Lucas68
Chichen Itza70
Isla Holbox85
Isla Mujeres80
Los Cabos80
Mexico City45
Nuevo Laredo40
Piedras Negras67
Playa del Carmen69
Puerto Morelos85
Puerto Vallarta70
Queretaro City63
San Luis Potosi80
San Miguel de Allende75

Where to Next?

7 Reviews on Tijuana

  1. Thinking about going out for a girl’s night out but might have to consider going somewhere else because I’m nervous of some of the risks after reading through this article.

    Might not be so bad if we go for just one day and we are in a large group. Would want to leave our valuables at home and remember to carry small bills for shopping. Would want to check out the beach and maybe the wine country on the Pacific coast.

    1. Bad choice

      There are so many other better alternatives. I’m sure TJ has its charms but it wouldn’t be my first pick on a list of bad cities.

  2. More dangerous than your average city but still has its charm

    Tijuana is known for the nightlife as it has a LOT of nightclubs and bars to go around. There’s more to Tijuana than just the nightlife. Things like museums, lovely beaches or busy markets. It’s a good idea to visit them all but I recommend you go with a group. I would NOT visit Tijuana alone as it can become dangerous even if you are a man. Just make sure you have at least 3-4 other people with you and things will be fine. This city is known for being more dangerous than your average city so keep your eyes peeled for trouble.

    If you go out at night (mostly interested in the nightlife), again make sure you don’t go alone. If you’re a woman then take extra care about what you drink (they can spike the drinks) and don’t go outside alone to smoke or just go on walks. During the day, in the safe neighborhoods and places, nothing will happen. But in crowded areas there are pickpockets and thieves and other criminals so it’s best to be in a group, pay attention to your things and your surroundings.

    As for places to visit (other than bars) I like the Tijuana Cultural Center. Here you can learn more about the native people of this region by watching a film in the IMAX dome or seeing live performances in the Performance Hall. There’s also the aquarium and much more to see. If you are visiting with your family (or even some friends) then head over to El Trompo. This is an interactive science museum which keeps kids entertained through games and exhibitions. There’s a LOT to see here so this is a must-visit if you have kids.

    El Popo Market is also a great place to go to just to see the local products being sold. You’ll find all sorts of interesting fruits and vegetables, some of which you might not know about. You can find souvenirs here and also get a chance to taste some of the local, delicious food.

  3. I thought it wasn’t to dangerous and it almost cost me my life. I have just returned home in Los Angeles after walking across the border on Wednesday night. I was there to accompany her while she had dental work done at that big black high rise building right over the border.

    They arrange you the hotel and a driver to take you from the border to the hotel and dr’s office. On Thursday I went to the the center of town and did some shopping. I got a backpack, a wallet, a handbag for my fiancé. I was walking down the street with two police officers walking a head of me. I thought that there’s cops so I’m ok. Long story short I was kidnapped by them forced to drain my bank accounts after handcufffing me and sticking a gun in my mouth. After they got the money and let me go.

    I was in shock and called family and before I could think more police came and did the same thing making me cash advance my credit card. About 2-3 hrs have gone by and my fiancé was tracking my location on my iPhone trying to call store owners in my location to get me into a store. I was in shock and honestly at this time my memory is foggy. I got picked up a third time. I don’t no if this cop was good or bad. He asked about money and I told him his friends already took everything I had.

    He kept asking me To describe them but I told him I didn’t remember. Not sure if they were worried about me reporting them. He drove me further into TJ and then let me go. A homeless man who witnessed the cop dragging me out of the car approached me and bought me a coke and I sat with him and then the driver from the drs office appeared after my fiancé using find my friends gave him my location and got me back to the hotel.

    For a fee of course. I love going to Puerto Vallarta, Cabo, Tulum. I will never step foot in Tijuana again. I recommend if you’re not Mexican, do not go

    1. S
      Steve Langley says:

      I’m an Australian and in 1956 I flew to the USA and stayed with friends who lived near the border of Tijuana. My host was a pilot with the USA Coastguard. His wife (Mexican)had family and friends living in Tijuana and so they took me with them by car to visit They warned me of the dangers in Tijuana adding that I would be safe while with them and so we wandered around Tijuana and drank at a couple of bars, but I admit to some nervousness from the stares from local inhabitants in the bars. My friend whose wife was from Tijuana told me not to worry as they were well known in Tijuana and I would be safe with them,
      but I felt relieved when we crossed back through the border into the USA

  4. A
    Anonymous says:

    Pretty dangerous city . Go with a group or go in the day time in zona rio or playas. Those are the only good areas. No wander off in southern or eastern Tijuana neighborhoods

  5. Author needs to do more research

    You need to do more research. Your statement, “More Americans living in the area have become targets of organized crime” is very misleading. I would like to see your sources. I am a ghost white American from San Francisco who has been living in TJ for about 5 months, just on the outskirts of the tourists areas in the blue collar neighborhoods. I have my car which is a newer BMW and it is often the nicest car in the area where I park. I, also, have been express kidnapped by the Tijuana police many years back. They had me go to the atm and take as much cash out as my bank would allow. They then just dropped me off in a random place leaving me a small amount of money. Unfortunately, this has always been an issue in Mexico, even before the rising of the cartel groups. The truth is paying off the police is often cheaper than getting a ticket in the states. Once you know the system you do not fall for it. If this happens to anyone, ask the police for there badge numbers or just read their badge numbers back to them. Tell them you want to go to the police station. Then if you do not have time to deal with them, hand them $20 and say that is all you can afford to give them. They will then leave you alone. As far as cartel violence and being robbed, it is NOTHING compared to the gang issues and robberies that we deal with in San Francisco. Guns are illegal in Mexico and are harder to come by. The cartel groups have many guns but they are dealing with organized businesses worth millions to billions of dollars, they have no interest in tourist. They actually protect tourist and if a Mexican gang kid is caught kidnapping he will be in for a surprise as he goes through the most horrific death imaginable. There is a large safety net surrounding tourists, and there are very little incidences of tourist homicides compared to American cities. Over 100 million tourists arrived in Mexico over the last three years and I can only find 4-5 incidences of homicides or kidnappings. I’ve seen two people get shot in the head in San Francisco in the last 5 years. Neither of these incidences were ‘newsworthy’. Look at crime maps for any American city and compare to all of the known tourists homicides, kidnappings, and robberies in Mexico. Your mind will be blown. The reason is, I believe, that our government wants tourism to go way down in Mexico because they want Mexico to get a grip on the cartel issue. Mexico is on the path to being the largest manufacturer for the US, as we pull out of China. So of course the US wants the cartel issue to go away and it is pulling tourists out of Mexico with exaggerated travel warnings to push AMLO into solving the corruption problem. Just look at the numbers, do your research, and come up with your own conclusion. I just shared mine.

Tijuana Rated 3 / 5 based on 7 user reviews.

Share Your Experience

Facebook Pinterest Review