The Texas Department of Public Safety is again urging people to avoid traveling to Mexico for Spring Break.
As they have in years past, the DPS is citing crime statistics against Americans and increasing violence from drug cartels as the reasoning behind the warning.
“The Mexican government has made great strides battling the cartels, and we commend their continued commitment to making Mexico a safer place to live and visit,” said DPS Director Steven C. McCraw. “However, drug cartel violence and other criminal activity represent a significant safety threat, even in some resort areas.”
The DPS acknowledges that many Americans travel to Mexico daily without incident, but the increasing risk cannot be ignored.
According to information from the Department of State, there were nearly 13,000 narcotics-related homicides in Mexico during the first nine months of 2011.
The number of U.S. citizens killed in Mexico increased from 35 in 2007 to 120 in 2011.
Resort areas aren't immune to crime either. According to State Department data rapes and sexual assualt are serious problems in resort areas while U.S. citizens have reported homicides, gun battles, kindappings, carjackings and highway robbery in many states of the country.
As a result, the State Department is urging U.S. travelers to defer non-essential travel to all or parts of 14 Mexican states, including the four that border Texas (Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas). That number is four higher than in 2011.
“The situation in Mexico today is significantly different than it was just a decade ago,” said McCraw. “Many crimes against Americans in Mexico go unpunished, and we have a responsibility to inform the public about safety and travel risks and threats. Based on the unpredictable nature of cartel violence and other criminal elements, we are urging individuals to avoid travel to Mexico at this time.”
The State Department also issued a warning about nightclubs in resort cities Cancun, Acapulco, Mazatlan, Cabo and Tijuana, all being a haven for petty crime and drugs. None of those cities are in states with travel warnings except for Mazatlan, Sinaloa.
To see a state-by-state assessment of security conditions in Mexico, visit this page on the Department of State's website and scroll down about 12 paragraphs.
For those who plan to travel to Mexico even in light of the warning, you should first register with the U.S. Embassy. You can do that by following this link.