42 Of The Missing Foreigner Cases Are Still Active
Over 60% of the missing person cases involving foreigners in the Cancun area have not been solved according to a new report. The stats leave 42 cases currently open since 2007.
Several of the relatives and friends of those visitors to the Quintana Roo who went missing formed a group named “Truth, Memory, and Justice” in an attempt to continue the searches themselves and share any potential information that could lead to some of the cases being closed.
The issue the group has taken with the Quintana Roo authorities is the perception of giving up and not following the full protocols for missing persons. What is supposed to be a more complex sequence of events has, according to the group, been reduced to simply posting on social media outlets requesting information.
Since 2007, there have been 72 missing person cases involving foreigners. Four of them have been found dead and 28 of them were found safe and returned home. Most recently, a Romanian woman went missing in Tulum while attending a party. There has been no sign of her in the weeks since although several posts have been placed on authorities’ Facebook and Twitter pages.
The criticism comes at a time when Quintana Roo is under added scrutiny in regards to tourist safety. An uptick in violent crime over the past year has brought unwanted attention to the region and, although the bulk of the violence has no direct implications on tourists, the brutal nature of many of the incidents is a justifiable concern for many.
With over 100 murders in the state since the beginning of the year, and several of them taking place in popular tourist zones, the likelihood of a visitor being caught up as collateral damage is greatly increased. Although the missing persons’ cases are not necessarily linked to any organized crime, the outside perspective of failure on the authorities’ part to stop the violence and solve the outstanding cases can paint a picture of instability for many.
The recent events at the Cancun International Airport highlight the perception that many tourists hold of the area, regardless of their decision to travel there. Despite no gunshots being fired, hundreds of panicked travelers fled the airport. Many of those fleeing were heard making remarks about organized crime and gangs attacking the airport. The instant attachment the tourists were making highlights the perception-problem Cancun is currently battling.
The government is taking steps to address the safety concerns in the region in preparation for the upcoming Easter season. Over 3 million visitors are expected to flood the beaches of Cancun over this period of time, further increasing the possibility of crime – whether petty or violent.
The Tourist Security Battalion is still patrolling the region and has been reinforced ahead of Easter. It’s hoped that their presence will deter any potential escalation from the local gangs who wouldn’t risk operating around them. The police are now working much closer with local establishments, including linking into the security systems of bars, restaurants, and hotels.
The more incidents that occur involving organized crime, the higher the risk of tourists choosing an alternative vacation. Cancun’s advantage of being the top spot in one of the only countries open to tourists has gone, and its main competitors are lessening their own restrictions. Destinations viewed as “safer” regardless of the realities of the matter may become more attractive for some tourists.
Visitors to Cancun can expect further security measures in the near future to help secure the state going forward. With the arrival of the Maya Train and Tulum Airport, the region is sure to grow even more, and it’s hoped its reputation will do the same.
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