The state of Quintana Roo has only recorded one kidnapping case this year, despite the U.S Government issuing a travel warning regarding this issue. This comes after Oscar Montes de Oca ( the head of the Quintana Roo Attorney General’s Office) confirmed that no other kidnapping attempts had been documented by authorities.
The U.S State Department first updated its travel advisory in March 2022, after violent crime increased throughout the state. At the time, this included one specific case of kidnapping. Within the advisory, the U.S State Department mentions the state of Quintana Roo by name alongside several others, including Baja California and Jalisco, as having high rates of violence against both tourists and locals living or passing through each place.
To make matters worse, the ‘Stop Kidnapping Association’ reported that the state of Quintana Roo had the highest amount of kidnappings per hundred thousand inhabitants for August 2022. However, the Office of the State Prosecutor confirmed that this figure was wrong, as no kidnappings were recorded throughout August of this year.
The only month with a recorded and confirmed kidnapping incident of this year was March, according to a report filed with the Executive Secretariat of the National Public Security System. Whilst this report is not known to the general public, it is thought that the disappearance of a Romanian tourist could be linked to the case: here, a woman was reported as missing after disappearing from a party on February 12th in Tulum. A report of the disappearance was only made a month later, hence the U.S State Department’s travel safety update.
In light of this incident, the Quintana Roo Attorney General’s Office stated it would work together with different government agencies to prevent an incident similar to this from happening again. In order to prevent kidnappings, the state of Quintana Roo has adopted a mass-surveillance system using C5 cameras, paying special attention to tourist-frequented bars, restaurants, and shops.
Following the U.S State Department, the British government updated its travel advisory in early August, with a specific focus on robberies, muggings, and violent assaults on tourists. This included a shooting at Playa del Carmen’s Fifth Avenue – a popular area for tourists to visit. 3 were left with injuries from gunshot wounds, prompting the government to ensure that tourists were warned about the potential danger they could encounter whilst on vacation in the Mexican-Caribbean.
Within the advisory, the British government specifically mentions the different types of kidnapping that could occur in the Mexican-Caribbean. ‘Express Kidnapping’ was found to be the most common form of targeting tourists or foreigners working in the region: here, the victims are made to draw funds from ATMs, often at knifepoint or gunpoint. Visitors to the region are reminded that such incidents typically occur in tourist-frequented areas late at night, such as Cancun, Playa del Carmen, and Tulum.
Further attention has also been placed on the hotel zones in Cancun and Tulum. Criminal gangs are more likely to target these areas as they believe they can kidnap or extort tourists for a large sum of ransom money.
Despite the increase in travel advisories presenting warnings about kidnappings, tourists are reminded that such incidents are infrequent and that the state is fully-equipped to deal with these difficult situations. As always, authorities throughout Quintana Roo are working together to ensure the safety of tourists and locals alike. In the event that a person goes missing or there is a suspected kidnapping, tourists are reminded to contact the local tourist police or other municipal authorities in the region.
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