SOUTH PADRE ISLAND, TX - MARCH 25: Students drink beer from funnels on the beach during the annual ritual of Spring Break March 25, 2008 on South Padre Island, Texas. The South Texas island is one of the top Spring Break destinations and attracts students from all over the country. (Photo by Rick Gershon/Getty Images)
The Texas Department of Public Safety is advising students on spring break to avoid Mexico at all costs.
Texas' South Padre Island is one of the nation's top destinations for Spring Break and it's not uncommon for vacationers to venture into northern Mexico.
Travelers are now being advised to stay out of northern Mexico, as well as some resort cities, by the DPS. (Read the full statement here.)
"While drug cartel violence is most severe in northern Mexico, it is prominent in other parts of the country as well," said DPS Director Steven C. McCraw. "Various crime problems also exist in many popular resort areas, such as Acapulco and Cancun, and crimes against U.S citizens often go unpunished."
According to the DPS, as many as 65 Americans were killed in Mexico in 2010 and the tide of violence hasn't slowed this year. In January, Texas missionary Nancy Davis was shot in the head when she and her husband ran an illegal road block in Nuevo Leon. On Feb. 5, two El Paso teens were gunned down in Ciudad Juarez, across the Rio Grande from El Paso. A U.S. ICE agent, Jaime Zapata, was shot and killed Feb. 15 in Mexico.
Kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery and carjacking also are threats in parts of Mexico and suspects have not been prosecuted in many of the cases, the DPS said.
"Underestimating the violence in Mexico would be a mistake for parents and students," said McCraw. "Our safety message is simple: avoid traveling to Mexico during Spring Break and stay alive."
The DPS is also urging boaters to stay on the U.S. side of Falcon Lake, where U.S. citizen David Hartley was killed last September while sightseeing with his wife.
Meanwhile, more than 30,000 Mexican citizens have died in drug-related violence since 2006, and the violence shows no signs of abating, the DPS said.
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.