The Mexican Caribbean is gearing up for a record-breaking summer season as millions of visitors are expected to flock to the area’s beaches and resorts. The government is also preparing for the massive influx of people and has launched a new security operation to prevent tourists from being targeted by organized crime groups and other criminal elements. In total, more than 4000 law enforcement personnel will be on guard to keep tourists safe over the summer.
The local government in cooperation with state and federal authorities has launched a new comprehensive security operation to keep tourists safe over the summer holiday period. The program consists of different measures and involves all levels of government, from local all the way to federal bodies. The main goal is to patrol popular tourist destinations – especially beaches – and deter criminals from targeting unsuspecting holidaymakers.
Known as ‘Safe Beach’ (Playa Segura), the extensive security apparatus has been in the making for some time in preparation for the summer season. Just last week, over 300 members of the Mexican Army were deployed in the state of Quintana Roo to patrol areas that are prone to organized crime group activity. Cancun, Isla Mujeres, and Playa del Carmen are just a few of the locations where local and state police will be making their presence felt over the summer.
Keeping public beaches safe and free from troublemakers is one of the top goals of the security effort. With many tourists choosing to visit the Mexican Caribbean thanks to award-winning beaches, it’s no wonder that they are the target of increased police scrutiny. Law enforcement officials say that in addition to tourists, locals will also gain from the enhanced security measures.
In order to achieve the program’s goals, weekly meetings are held with the Coordination Group, which sets out different security strategies and analyses their implementation. With a fast-paced environment and a range of safety issues, it is important for authorities to keep track of the ever-changing security situation in the area. With around 4000 law enforcement personnel deployed across the region, several agencies are working to ensure a safe summer season. However, with temporary contingency stemming from the National Guard as well as the Navy, the total number of armed guards is around 6000.
The operation kicked off on July 19, according to Lucio Hernández Guitérrez, the head of the Secretary for Public Security of Quintana Roo (SSP). It will remain in place for the remainder of the current government. “We have carried out various Safe Beach operations, starting with Isla Blanca, all the way to the entire Cancun zone, as well as the entire Riviera Maya all the way to Mahahual”, the secretary said.
Tourists’ health is also being looked after by authorities, with units from the Red Cross and lifeguards deployed in all 11 municipalities making up the state. Moreover, authorities are also paying close attention to the state’s important highways, which are widely used by visitors as they move around popular destinations.
Safety has been a hot topic in the Mexican Caribbean this year, with a number of high-profile incidents making the headlines. Two Canadian citizens were killed earlier this summer in a Playa del Carmen condo, and in another incident, several tourists were robbed at gunpoint at the otherwise calm Isla Mujeres. Meanwhile, the local government has highlighted that despite increasing crime rates, criminal activity rarely targets tourists, who are more likely to be victims of petty crime including pickpocketing. With that being said, it is good to keep a few safety tips in mind when visiting Cancun and the Mexican Caribbean, such as avoiding walking outside alone in the dark.
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