Figures Prompt Concern For Tourists After Some Locals Take Justice Into Their Own Hands
This year’s crime statistics suggest that Cancun and the rest of Quintana Roo see around forty robberies a day. A new report emerged after some locals took justice into their own hands.
The news outlet, Por Esto, reported on multiple cases of local residents in Cancun actively attacking known criminals who have been prosecuted for theft in the past. According to the article, for a number of reasons, many of those convicted of robbery in the area are released from prison after extremely short terms making the consequences of being caught minimal in the grand scheme of things.
Business owners and other locals are recognizing these criminals on the street and are more aware of them as they try to re-offend. One particularly bloody encounter saw a man enter a convenience store armed with a handgun. The shop owner recognized him as he entered and prepared himself for an altercation, and attacked the man with the help of other customers. By the time the police had arrived, he was outside the store on the floor, covered in blood.
Although instances like these are in more localized areas, far from the tourist zones, there is concern that the frustrations of locals may push the criminals elsewhere.
Unlike organized crime, which generally tries to avoid the tourist population as they are its market for drugs, petty crime and robberies can and do target visitors. A travel alert was already raised advising visitors to avoid walking around towns like Cancun and Tulum at night, especially alone, and to take extra care when outside of the hotel zone.
With locals becoming more frustrated with the justice system, it’s likely that more vigilante-type justice will be seen. As this kind of situation arises, criminals may be pushed more toward tourists, whom they are unlikely to see ever again.
One particular worry is the massive increase in short-term rental properties. Hotels are generally very secure, especially the world-class all-inclusive in the hotel zone, but rental apps like Airbnb are making a huge dent in the Cancun market. Almost half of the available beds in Tulum are found on Airbnb, meaning those visitors are staying in a private residence, often miles from the tourist areas.
These residences often provide phenomenal value for tourists and help make a vacation much cheaper. It’s also the best way for the rising population of digital nomads to live in an area for a longer period of time.
Unlike timeshare options, which are usually found in apartment buildings or gated communities, Airbnbs and other private rental platforms can be anywhere. As soon as a criminal knows the location of an Airbnb, it could become a target.
It’s especially important for those who choose to stay in these types of accommodations to do extra research into their rental. Ensuring the property is in a good location should be high on the list. Choosing an apartment block with multiple locked entries and a security guard should be a preference. And even then, ensuring the apartment or property comes with lockboxes or safes to leave important items like laptops, phones, or extra cash – anything someone can’t afford to lose.
With proper care, most tourists will be absolutely fine, but understanding the risks is an important factor. With crime on the rise, and more visitors flooding into the region every month, the more opportunities there are for something to go wrong. It may be worth spending a little bit more to ensure a safe location or a more secure property.
When out and about, visitors should stay vigilant, and avoid walking around alone at night.
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