The U.S. State Department constantly makes recommendations for US citizens that are traveling outside of the country. This year the State Department has issued travel warnings on 14 Mexican States. The Mexico travel warnings could effect Spring Break travel for college students this year.
One of the focuses of danger is the amount of U.S. citizens that have been murdered in Mexico while traveling going up. In 2007 there were 35 US citizens reported to be murdered in Mexico and in 2011 the rate has pushed up to 120 citizens. The danger is blamed on TCO’s or Transnational Crime Organizations which have been targeting U.S. visitors and residents based on their nationality.
According to the most recent homicide figures published by the Mexican government, 47,515 people were killed in narcotics-related violence in Mexico between December 1, 2006 and September 30, 2011, with 12,903 narcotics-related homicides in the first nine months of 2011 alone. While most of those killed in narcotics-related violence have been members of TCOs, innocent persons have also been killed.
Different things that U.S. citizens have encountered when in the Mexican states with the travel warnings are events such as gun battles, kidnappings, homicides, carjackings and highway robberies.
In one of the warnings the State Department details the kidnapping problems in Mexico: “The rising number of kidnappings and disappearances throughout Mexico is of particular concern. Both local and expatriate communities have been victimized. In addition, local police have been implicated in some of these incidents. We strongly advise you to lower your profile and avoid displaying any evidence of wealth that might draw attention.”
Carjackings also seem to be a major problem but specific types of cars and situations have been highlighted. Cars that seem to be popular for carjackings in Mexico are dark-colored SUVs, late model sedans and older SUVs. Incidents have occurred during the day and at night, and carjackers have used a variety of techniques, including bumping/moving vehicles to force them to stop and running vehicles off the road at high speeds.
For a full list of Mexico travels warnings from the State Department you can read their release here. Some of the most popular destinations for vacations and College Spring Break trips like Cabo San Lucas and Cancun were not included in the warnings. Regardless, Mexican officials are extremely worried of the impact on tourism and travel these warnings could have on the Mexican tourism market.