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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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