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May 22, 2012

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I suspect the same mistake was part of what led to Jaime Zapata being killed last year. Makes no sense.

We are a group of student of Scandinavian descent (blond and blue eyed) about to spend a semester studying in Monterrey, Nuevo Leon. What kind of car should one get to "blend in" as much as possible? Can you 'float by the radar' in a newish (mid to late 1990's) Jeep Grand Cherokee or Chevy Tahoe, or should one opt for a more rundown type 80's vehicle, such as a Chevy Caprice or Ford Aerostar?

Thanks for any suggestions!

Honestly, I would avoid any kind of SUV. The chances are that in Monterrey you will be fine, but that's my advice. A newer model car is fine, as long as it's an economical compact or sedan.

Avoid the area between Avenida Aztlan (the Metrorrey runs over it) and the Cerro del Topo Chico. There are other dangerous areas, but that one has gotten quite bad.

Mr. Maurer,

Thanks a lot for the suggestions!

Why avoid SUV's altogether? I always feel safer in a larger, more durable and capable vehicle. I thought typical "targets" would drive new and expensive cars such as Audis or G-Wagons?

That's the "Croc" neighborhood northeast of the city, right? The one that supposedly is controlled by Zetas?

SUVs are the vehicle of choice, for various reasons, tactical and cultural. It is what it is.

The neighborhood I mentioned is south of Croc. Basically the area north of Aztlan towards the far end of the Metrorrey. But you have the general area right.

Thanks again! Would you say the rest of the city is safe, including the old part of town, Barrio Antiguo?

Apologies for the delay. There have been incidents in the Barrio Antiguo. I feel safe everywhere in the center city, but my risk tolerance (at least in terms of the fear of random violence not personally directed at me) is higher than most.

In other words, it is safe in absolute terms, but I would exercise a great deal of caution.

There have been incidents in Apodaca, but it is also largely safe.

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