The State Department has released an advisory to Americans, warning that there is an increased risk of kidnapping while traveling to Mexico.
The advisory also warned that the US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to citizens in most of Mexico, as U.S. government employees are restricted or prohibited from traveling to certain areas.
“Violent crime – such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery – is widespread and common in Mexico,” the advisory begins. “The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico, as travel by U.S. government employees to certain areas is prohibited or restricted. In many states, local emergency services are limited outside the state capital or major cities.”
“U.S. citizens are advised to adhere to restrictions on U.S. government employee travel,” it continued. “State-specific restrictions are included in the individual state advisories below.”
The advisory lists restrictions placed on U.S. government employees while in Mexico, including restrictions on traveling between cities after dark, hailing taxis in the street and relying on dispatched vehicles, including services like Uber and regulated taxi stands. It also recommends avoiding traveling alone, particularly in remote areas.
The guidance specifically states that “government employees may not drive from the U.S.-Mexico border to or from the interior parts of Mexico, except daytime travel within Baja California and between Nogales and Hermosillo on Mexican Federal Highway 15D, and between Nuevo Laredo and Monterrey on Highway 85D.”
The department named the states of Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas and Zacatecas as states on their “Do Not Travel” advisory because of crime and kidnapping.
They also urged people to reconsider travel to the states of Baja California, Chihuahua, Durango, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Morelos and Sonora for the same reason.
They recommend exercising increased caution in the states of Aguascalientes, Baja California Sur, Chiapas, Coahuila, Hidalgo, Mexico City, Mexico state, Nayarit, Nuevo Leon, Oaxaca, Puebla, Queretaro, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosi, Tabasco, Tlaxcala, and Veracruz.
The only two states of Mexico that are recommended to exercise normal precautions are Campeche and Yucatan.
The Hill reports, “The State Department released a shelter-in-place alert in five cities located in the state of Baja California last weekend after criminal gangs caused fires, roadblocks and increased police activity.”
“Transnational criminal organizations compete in the border area to establish narco-trafficking and human smuggling routes,” the most recent notice elaborated on the Baja California area. “Most homicides appeared to be targeted; however, criminal organization assassinations and territorial disputes can result in bystanders being injured or killed.”