I started driving to Mexico in the 1960′s, and loved it from the start. I have almost always felt safe in Mexico, perhaps even when I should not have felt so safe, such as when I went certain places in Mexico City at night. But, I was lucky.
I moved to Morelos three years ago, and I love it. There are three of us living here together, in the country, just outside the little town of Tepoztlan, about fifteen minutes from Cuernavaca and an hour from Mexico City. I still feel safe here. We do not even hear of violence around this area, though I do think that the farther from the border you are, the safer you are.
I do think there has been an increase in crime, in some parts of Mexico that did not have such problems with violence in the past. Apparently, this is largely drug related and also involves shakedowns of local businesses for “protection” payments.
We take the usual precautions. We don’t drive at night, except in our little area, which we know quite well by now. We keep our front gate locked (most of the time), and our house locked at night. And of course, we have our nine dogs, mostly little chihuahuas, that alert us when anything moves.