Cartel-related Violence of Special Concern for Travelers to Mexico
As many college students gear up for the spring break holiday in the coming weeks, the Department of Public Safety (DPS) and the Arizona Highway Patrol Association (AHPA) remind our young adults to be careful if they opt to travel to Mexico. That country has seen a rapid rise in violence associated with drug cartels, so Arizona law enforcement asks that students and other travelers use caution if they choose to venture south of the border this spring break.
According to a travel alert issued in September 2010 by the U.S. State Department:
“Resort areas and tourist destinations in Mexico do not see the levels of drug-related violence and crime reported in the border region and in areas along major drug trafficking routes. Nevertheless, crime and violence are serious problems. While most victims of violence are Mexican citizens associated with criminal activity, the security situation poses serious risks for U.S. citizens as well.
It is imperative that U.S. citizens understand the risks involved in travel to Mexico, how best to avoid dangerous situations, and who to contact if one becomes a victim of crime or violence. Common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours, and avoiding areas where criminal activity might occur, can help ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable.”
Special precaution should be taken anytime an individual is visiting an unfamiliar destination. Below are some security tips for students and others who choose to visit Mexico for spring break:
General Safety Tips
- Travel on main roads during daylight hours. As much as possible, use toll (“cuota”) roads, which are generally more secure.
- Leave an itinerary with a friend or family member not traveling with you, and avoid traveling alone.
- Visit legitimate businesses and well-known tourist areas during daylight hours. USE COMMON SENSE.
- Do not engage in illicit activity, and avoid areas where criminal activity could be reasonably expected.
- Avoid hailing taxis on the street, and only use taxis associated with organized taxi stands (“sitios”).
- Check with your cellular provider to confirm your mobile phone is capable of roaming on GSM or 3G international networks.
- Do not get irresponsibly intoxicated.
- Do not accept a drink from a stranger, regardless of whether you are male or female.
- Do not display expensive-looking jewelry, large amounts of money, or other valuable items.
- Travel/tour as a group as much as possible. Being part of a group does not guarantee “safety in numbers,” but it does lessen the risk.
If you are driving by car through Arizona to Mexico, remember to obtain Mexican auto insurance in advance. Check tire pressure and fluid levels before you get on the road. Drive safely!
Travelers should always check with U.S. State Department website for the most up-to-date information related to security issues in Mexico at:
U.S. citizens living or traveling in Mexico are urged to register with and know the location of the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate through their website at: