Officials at the Texas Department of Public Safety issued a 2012 Spring Break warning, urging students to avoid traveling to Mexico because of the increasing drug-related violence throughout the country.
The warning came after the U.S. Department of State noted that 120 U.S. citizens were reported murdered in Mexico last year. The State Department noted that in 2007, that number was 35.
Texas DPS also noted that in the first nine months of last year, there were 12,903 narcotics-related homicides reported in Mexico. Rape and sexual assault are continuously serious problems in resort areas while some bars and nightclubs in resort cities such as Cancun, Acapulco, Mazatlan, Cabo San Lucas, and Tijuana can serve as havens for drug dealers and petty criminals, according to the U.S. State Department.
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, DPS Director Steven C. McCraw, said via press release. However, drug cartel violence and other criminal activity represent a significant safety threat, even in some resort areas.
McCraw also said that the situation in Mexico today is significantly different from what it was 10 years ago.
Many crimes against Americans in Mexico go unpunished, and we have a responsibility to inform the public about safety and travel risks and threats, he said. Based on the unpredictable nature of cartel violence and other criminal elements, we are urging individuals to avoid travel to Mexico at this time.
DSP did note however, that many of the travels made to Mexico do occur without incident.
While Texas official say the risk cannot be ignored, Rodolfo Lopez Negrete, chief operating officer of the Mexico Tourism Board, did travel to Austin last month to speak out against a warning like the one published last year.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the message back then was to avoid traveling in Mexico during spring break and stay alive.
The Chronicle reported that Lopez agrees that it is unsafe to travel to northern-border states such as Tamaulipas, but that areas such as Cancún remain safe.
I think the language that was used was outrageous, Lopez told the Chronicle of the most recent warning. We're saddened by the fact that the alert paints Mexico with a broad brush. This is something that we have been advocating you cannot do with a country with the size and the dimensions of Mexico.