Mars, there's no doubt that the US/Mexico border areas are where the majority of the dangerous and violent drug gang activity occurs. If - IF - you're going to run into trouble in mexico it's very likely it will be here. But personally I think the danger to tourists is overstated. By my reckoning only a couple of tourists have been deliberately targeted and murdered by the drug gangs (and maybe a dozen or so accidentally involved in a shoot-out). let's say I'm being conservative, and inflate the figure to say a dozen.
There are 20+ million international visitors to Mexico every year plus an additional 150,000 people who cross the US/Mexico border daily. The chances of anything happening to you, even accidentally, are astronomical.
The recently revised US State Department travel warning for Mexico names the good, the bad and the ugly for violent crime and gang activity. The only city they named in northern Baja in relation to this was Tijuana.
If you ignore (statistically speaking) the drug war deaths, Mexico has almost the same murder rate as the US, and Tijuana has a murder rate slightly lower than Philadelphia!
It pays to be cautious in the border regions, stick to the main tourist routes and don't drive at night. Otherwise have a great trip.
Phil from the safety hub almost 8 years ago