Travel to Baja, California is enjoyed by many people without problems in the area.  However, there are safety risks with travel there which should be known so that visitors can protect themselves from harm.  The main problems come in the form of petty theft, police corruption and health issues.  Precautions can be taken to reduce the risk of all of these safety concerns.

Petty theft is unfortunately common in Baja California.  It usually takes the form of pick pocketing or purse snatching and is most likely to occur in crowded areas.  On rare occasions, petty theft occurs along with more aggressive behavior.  For example, “highway bandits” sometimes take over vehicles and force people to turn them over.  Again, this is rare.  Safety precautions include common self-defense for petty theft crimes (see http://www.self-defender.net/article5...) as well as extra precautions such as avoiding driving at night.

Police corruption is also unfortunately a problem in the area.  Though it is decreasing in occurrence, police have been known to pull tourists over on the road and demand payment as a bribe for being released.  The best thing to do in such a situation is to cut your losses and hand over what you have.  It is best to contact the local embassy of the home country of origin when this occurs.

In terms of health safety, the most common hazard is related to food and water.  Common sense should prevail in this area in order to self-protect from harm.  Avoid drinking anything but bottled water.  Make sure that food from street vendors is thoroughly cooked.  Do not eat anything which has been sitting out for too long.

In general, despite these dangers, travel in Baja California is considered to be fairly safe and visitors should feel welcome in the area.

Effective 4/17/2015 Tecate police are pulling over cars with California plates and demanding fines for infractions they probably did not commit.