If your long-awaited Spring break trip is Mexico this year, you may want to reevaluate your vacation plans. On February 20, 2009, the United States Department of State and Bureau of Counselor Affairs issued a travel alert forewarning U.S. citizens of the imminent dangers traveling into Mexico may pose.
Unfortunately, violence near the northern portions of Mexico has been rapidly increasing as a result of drug cartel offensives for control of narcotics trafficking routes along the border. The Mexican government has continued in their efforts to combat militias and drug cartels by deploying thousands of troops since 2006. While these efforts have produced increased arrests and seizures, cartels have responded in a more violent and pugnacious manner, ensuing small, war-like conflicts with heavy cross-fire of automatic weapons and grenades in and around border cities such as Tijuana, Chihuahua City and Ciudad Juarez, with an emphasis on Ciudad Juarez. (ABC and AP)
Additionally, more kidnappings, murders, and thefts are also blanketing the border cities, and as Mexican civilians are primarily targeted in the violence, foreign crime victims have also added to the numbers.
“A number of areas along the border are experiencing rapid growth in the rates of many types of crime. Robberies, homicides, petty thefts, and carjackings have all increased over the last year across Mexico generally, with notable spikes in Tijuana and northern Baja California. Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana and Nogales are among the cities which have recently experienced public shootouts during daylight hours in shopping centers and other public venues. Criminals have followed and harassed U.S. citizens traveling in their vehicles in border areas including Nuevo Laredo, Matamoros, and Tijuana.” (Bureau of Counselor Affairs)
If travel into Mexico is a must, exercise extreme caution. Avoid precarious situations and use common-sense safety-measures. The State Department warns U.S. travelers in Mexico of the following precautions:
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