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3000 Soldiers Sent To Cancun To Protect Tourists And High Crime Areas

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The Mexican government has sent more than 3000 soldiers to patrol popular tourist areas around the Mexican Caribbean. The move is a part of authorities’ continued efforts to fight organized crime, a major issue facing Cancun and other resort destinations. After a successful – and mostly safe – summer season, officials want to continue to protect visitors over the fall.

Soliders armed

Mexican officials have announced renewed troop deployments in some of Quintana Roo’s busiest tourist hotspots, including Cancun. The National Secretary for Defence (Sedena) has sent over three thousand troops to areas prone to organized crime.

The new deployments include at least 1500 troops from the National Guard, a national law enforcement agency created in 2019 to bolster Mexico’s war against organized crime. On top of that, there are already numerous police organizations operating at the regional level, as well as local police. That’s why one of the deployment’s goals is to enhance cooperation between different bodies through intelligence and coordination.

Soliders truck

Crime levels are especially alarming in many popular resort destinations, including Solidaridad (Playa del Carmen), Bacalar, and Othón P. Blanco, in southern Quintana Roo. Even though visitor numbers are expected to drop somewhat during the fall, the government wants to tackle organized crime and prevent it from spiraling out of control into touristy hotspots.

police on beach

Tulum, an otherwise picture-perfect Caribbean destination, has also been feeling the effects of increasing crime rates. Intense fighting between armed gangs has made the headlines, a shocking reminder of the cruelty of organized crime. 

Although the summer season has already come to an end, the same cannot be said for criminal groups, who continue to cause concern among authorities. Even though rarely targeting tourists directly, drug trafficking and violent crime levels in Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean are among the highest in the country. Officials are now redoubling their efforts in an attempt to bring crime levels down.

Police car beach

Authorities from the Mexican Navy will also be overseeing the Hondo river, which is a major target for drug smugglers attempting to reach other parts of the country and Central America. Law enforcement and border guards will also be paying close attention to the Mexico – Belize border.

Over the summer, local and state officials deployed a massive security apparatus across Quintana Roo, involving thousands of armed guards from different levels of government. The goal: to deter violence and protect visitors over the record-setting summer season. The operation was largely a success, and millions of tourists visited the Mexican Caribbean over the summer.

solider on beach

Although rare, tourists can get caught in the crossfire of organized crime groups, who fight for control over the lucrative drug market. Petty crime, which includes pickpocketing and scams, is much more likely to affect visitors than violent crime. 

Cancun Remains A Safe Destination For Americans This Fall

Despite alarm over rising crime rates in parts of the Mexican Caribbean, Cancun officials insist the resort town is a safe destination, especially for tourists. In the Department of State’s most recent travel update, Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean retained their Level 2 advisory, meaning visitors should exercise increased precaution although travel remains overall safe.

Police car parked

That being said, visitors are recommended to take several precautions, such as avoiding walking alone at night. It is also advisable to stick to resort areas, avoiding wandering into unknown neighborhoods. Travelers should also be careful when booking online tour packages or rentals, which scammers have increasingly targeted.  

c5 operative in cancun

Cancun has invested heavily in its new $19 million C5 Security Complex, a high-tech surveillance network to fight crime and protect visitors. It maintains close coordination with all of the law enforcement bodies in the state, and visitors that fall victim to crime can file a complaint directly through its website.

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Sunday 18th of September 2022

As an expat living in Cancun for the past 16 years I am happy the government is finally noticing we have a huge problem here. I have watch Cancun turn into a place that I never thought I would. I used to protect Cancun's reputation because I believed it was a safe place, but for us to continue supporting it by saying that it is safe would be terribly irresponsible of us. Up until the last 4 years I could speak mostly positive of the destination. It's great that they are trying to protect the tourist and it's areas, but they really need to focus on the areas that the workers live in. There are multiple executions weekly. These workers are facing difficult daily decisions. Heck I live in a nice area and unfortunate things are happening within blocks of me to where I have decided to move soon. The reality is hurts my heart because I have to worry every time I go out and about. The saying "Don't go looking for trouble and you'll be safe" isn't true anymore. These crime organizations have become greedy and irresponsible. They no longer try to be discreet, they are taking violent actions in crowded areas where tourist are present more and more often each day. They are committing floor rights demands off hard working citizens to where they have to close their businesses down. While visiting a 5 star hotel in Cancun I was harassed by the so called "Beach vendors" to buy things from them only because I looked like was looking to party and they had everything I needed. You can tell they aren't the original vendors that used to walk the beach just by their interactions and they look unwelcoming. I told the hotel management, but they can't do anything since the beach is federal land. And why would they risk their lives?! This might not be the truth you would like to read about our beautiful Cancun, but turning a blind eye won't make it right either. We are now living the nightmare that the media used to claim Cancun was living over 11 years ago when nothing was really happening here.


Thursday 15th of September 2022

Now they need to send some nice, helpful, and caring employees to The Bahia in the Rivera Maya like they used to have! The place went down hill, get it together crew!!!!!


Saturday 17th of September 2022

@Ron, I'm sure the military are concerned with the Staff at your chosen hotel..