On July 28th, the British Government issued an official travel warning for Mexico after a recent shooting in Playa Del Carmen left 3 injured. The warning specifically mentions the incident alongside other violent crimes in Cancun, Playa del Carmen and Cozumel, advising tourists to exercise increased caution when travelling through busy areas.
The shooting in Playa Del Carmen occurred in broad daylight on the popular Fifth Avenue, an area known to draw in tourists with its colourful artisanal shops and stalls. Footage from the incident reveals pedestrians and motorists running from armed assailants who shot into the crowd, injuring 3. Whilst the victims were not severely injured and are expected to make a full recovery, instances of gun violence in tourist hotspots have unfortunately become more commonplace throughout Mexico.
It was this particular incident that prompted the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) in the UK to warn potential tourists of further attacks that could occur in Cancun and its surrounding areas. In recent months, Mexican authorities have discovered a rise in foreigners being caught in the crossfire of gang warfare, as over 400,000 daily visitors enter Quintana Roo. The surging number of tourists throughout the state has increased their chances of being in the wrong place at the wrong time – as seen in the shooting in Playa Del Carmen.
To ensure travellers are safe as possible, the UK Government stated:
“You should research your destination thoroughly and only travel during daylight hours when possible. Monitor local media and inform trusted contacts of your travel plans”.
Travelling during the day instead of late at night can significantly reduce the chance of being affected by violent crime, as there is often easier access to authorities at this time. Criminals are also less likely to shoot at people in broad daylight (despite this not being the case for the Playa Del Carmen shooting).
The warning also specifically names violent incidents in Tulum, where two foreign tourists were killed, as well as a shooting in Puerto Morelos where tourists were injured. These are not the only violent incidents that tourists have been caught up in during the summer vacation period: downtown Cancun has experienced a multitude of violent crimes over the past few months, including multiple restaurant shootings and robberies.
In light of the increase in shootings, the report reassured potential travellers that there is now an increased police presence in Cancun’s Hotel Zone, as well as other tourist-frequented areas in Quintana Roo. The Mexican government does attempt to place special protection within tourist destinations such as Cancun, Playa Del Carmen and Cozumel as well as other areas such as Los Cabos and Puerto Vallarta, but crime rates are still rising across the country as a whole.
Whilst various shootings and stabbings have been recorded in Quintana Roo over the past few months, Mexican officials have assured tourists that most resorts and hotels are still safe to stay in.
The UK’s Foreign Travel Advice service provides a multitude of information about Mexico to potential travellers, including information on terrorism, local laws, entry requirements, health, natural disasters and money alongside safety tips. It is updated whenever a significant event is set to affect travellers visiting Mexico, such as the spread of Coronavirus in March 2020.
As always, tourists worried about violent crime in the region are advised to remain vigilant and ‘monitor local advice’ given by state authorities. Any suspicious activity should be reported immediately to the police, to ensure the safety of everyone.
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