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Cancun & Tulum Crime Levels Increase, Are Tourists Safe To Visit?

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Crime levels in Cancun and Tulum spiked during January, causing concern among tourism officials, law enforcement, and municipal elected officers.

This should not come as a surprise to many, as the cities across the Mexican Caribbean have been stepping up security measures in response to an increase in crime over the last couple of months.

National Guard on patrol in Tulum

Crimes against tourists have also unfortunately increased during the same recent time period.

Let’s take a look at what the most recent Quintana Roo Stoplight Report is telling us about the levels of crime activity in the region.

Cancun Crime on the Increase

The Quintana Roo Stoplight Report measures the amount of criminal activity across the region, similar to a traditional intersection stoplight.

Resorts Along the Mexican Caribbean Coast in Cancun, Mexico

A green light indicates low levels of a specific crime. Meanwhile, a yellow light is a warning that the numbers are a bit high. A red light means there are high levels of specific criminal activity in an area.

Out of the 11 crimes measured by the Quintana Roo Stoplight Report for the municipality of Benito Juárez, which includes Cancun, an alarming seven of the crime indicators were red lights.

This included the crimes of homicides, extortion, drug dealing, vehicle theft, home burglary, business theft, and family violence.

cancun police on an atv

Two of the lights were yellow in January for rape and injuries.

There were only four red lights for the Cancun area in the December report.

Crime Issues in Tulum

Tulum street scene

Meanwhile, in Tulum, there were also seven red lights during the month of January.

These were for the crimes of homicides, drug dealing, vehicle robbery, home burglary, business theft, rape, and family violence.

There was only one yellow light in Tulum in January, and it was for injuries.

Police Pickup Truck on a Street in Cancun, Mexico

There were six red lights for Tulum in December and only three in November.

An Anomaly or Trend?

With the New Year celebration, many of the questions about the crime levels in Cancun and Tulum is, are these one-time anomalies in the data or a trend?

Mexican Navy troops deployed on a beach in Cancun

Crime usually picks up around the winter holiday travel period. So, we will have to wait to see the numbers for February and March to spot a true trend in Cancun.

The numbers in Tulum, on the other hand, show something completely different.

Pairing the three months of data with the recent Cancun Sun stories on the increase in crime definitely indicates a negative level of criminal activity in the area. Tourists will want to be aware of this trend.

National Guard Truck on the Street in Tulum, Mexico

Especially since some of the increase in criminal activity in Tulum is targeted directly at tourists.

What Tourists Need to Know

Tourists need to remain vigilant against crime while enjoying a vacation getaway in the Mexican Caribbean travel hotspots.

While most tourists will visit the Mexican Caribbean with zero issues whatsoever, it is good to stay smart while on vacation.

police car cancun quintana roo

While most of the crimes in the Quintana Roo Stoplight Report do not review crimes affecting tourists, it gives a general indication of criminal activity in the region.

The only stoplight crime that often involves tourists is drug dealing. But there are a number of other scams that are currently targeting tourists in the area right now.

Travelers in Cancun and Tulum need to be aware of their surroundings and avoid especially wearing expensive items, such as jewelry and watches, that make them targets for criminal activity in the area.

Female police officer guards crime scene

They should remain in well-lit tourist areas in Cancun and Tulum in the evening and avoid visiting unknown parts of town outside the tourist zone after dark.

Visitors should also take precautions to limit the amount of cash being carried and use undergarment travel pouches to hide targeted items like passports.

Last, travelers are highly recommended to carry travel insurance for protection in the event that they are a victim of crime and need assistance while on their vacation getaway.

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Friday 1st of March 2024

It is more the policía people have to worry about than anything! Staying at a condo a couple blocks off 5 th, our one friend decided to go for ice cream by the Mega. He left the rest of our group, after midnight, and walked towards the store. He was stopped by the “ Polica”. Spoke to him in Spanish, which he doesn’t understand. Motioning that he didn’t understand, one of the police went behind him, hit him over the head with his gun. They threw him in the back of their truck and took him 20 km south of Playa. He came to up covered in blood! They took him out of the truck, went through his pockets and threw him in the ditch. He walked back to Playa, took him 5 hrs, walking in flip flops. His feet were covered in blisters and blood blisters. Needless to say he had a concussion and could barely walk. Totally ruined his and our holiday! My daughter, friend and l were also harassed by 2 vehicles at the same time, walking home from dinner one night, had to run a couple blocks to loose them. We’ve been to Playa numerous times and it just seems to be getting worse. People are great, police are corrupt!!


Friday 1st of March 2024

Am I missing something if you go into the semáforo website you see only 2 red lights

Tony Timmons

Sunday 3rd of March 2024

Hello Fernando, Please scroll down to "Benito Juarez" and "Tulum" in the report. Tony