Safety in Mexico
According to the U.S. Department Of State: "The greatest increase in violence has occurred near the U.S. border. However, U.S. citizens traveling throughout Mexico should exercise caution in unfamiliar areas and be aware of their surroundings at all times."
Since Nuevo Vallarta is as far from the border as Portland is, it is much safer here than many US cities. Caution and common sense is always advised wherever you go. Most of the violence involves the drug cartels and their battle against the Federales.
TIP: Drugs are illegal in Mexico. You could face a large fine, or imprisonment of up to 25 years if convicted of an offence (might be longer than you planned on staying).
If you believe everything you read, you would think that even the animals in Mexico are armed to the teeth.
Travellers will find Nuevo Vallarta to be a safe place. Being a tourist town, the locals depend on the tourists for their living and therefore the tourists are safe. If in doubt, consider looking into travel advisories before you travel
Foreign affairs Canada: Travel Warnings
U.S. Department of State — Bureau of Consular affairs: Travel Warnings