Army And National Guard To Deploy At Entrances To Cancun Tourist Zone
The Army and National Guard are set to be deployed in more places in Cancun to help strengthen the security of the popular tourist town. The move is the latest in a number of security measures in the region.
Over the weekend, both branches of the Mexican military built strategically placed bases at the road entrances to Cancun, where every vehicle wishing to enter Cancun must pass through. The timing of the move coincides with what is set to be an extremely busy period for the city. An estimated 3 million visitors are expected to pass through the town over the course of spring break and Easter.
One base was placed around 2km from the Cancun International Airport, on the Cancun to Playa del Carmen road, as well the Merida to Cancun road. Several passing drivers reported random stops for vehicle inspections. Drivers are also being recorded as they pass through to help with identification purposes if required.
The main military component conducting the inspection sites is the Tourist Security Battalion. The battalion was created at the end of 2021 as a specialized branch of the National Guard. Its purpose was primarily to counteract the negative effects of organized crime in the region. It was hoped that their simple presence would help deescalate any potential violence in the major tourist zones putting visitors at risk.
The program was met with general success and some statistics have pointed towards a drop in violence. Unfortunately, several high-profile incidents over the past few months have shown the gravity of the problem Quintana Roo as a whole faces.
The most high profile of these was the broad-daylight double assassination of two men at the Xcaret Hotel in January. Although both men were high-level associates of a Canadian-Vietnamese crime syndicate, the shocking nature of the incident prompted the US and Canadian governments to place “Do Not Travel” warnings on the state.
Since then, Quintana Roo has taken several strong steps to help strengthen its security. Two meetings have taken place with the FBI, DEA, and most recently members of the EU. All of the meetings have been designed to build comprehensive plans that can be implemented in Cancun and beyond.
The checkpoints are intended to weed out any potential people of interest before they are even able to enter Cancun. On top of this, it’s hoped that anyone smuggling drugs, weapons, or other harmful items into the town can be caught long before they are intended to be used.
It’s also hoped to catch any possible illegal immigrants being smuggled from Central America into Quintana Roo. This has been a problem for some time and one the government is trying to lessen.
On top of these, local restaurants and hotels have allowed the police access to their surveillance systems, giving the authorities a much wider net to cast when searching for problems. Until now, most of the security systems in place on private properties were more useful for post-crime analysis. Now, the police have invested in the ability to monitor events in real-time, meaning quicker response times in the face of more violence or any other crime.
Cancun and Quintana Roo will continue to battle the effects of organized crime in the coming months. It is as much a PR issue as a tourist safety one. Statistically, tourists are extremely safe in Cancun, but recurring violence among criminals can give the impression of instability.
Those intending to visit Cancun in the near future should continue to keep on top of any restriction changes, especially as the state gets busier over the Spring Break and Easter season.
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