Recently Cancun has been in the news for multiple tourist bus fires that were intentionally started, and while it has been a couple of weeks since the last incident, a third tourist bus in less than a month has now been intentionally set on fire. As in the last two tourist bus fires, nobody was hurt in this incident either. According to reports, the only person on the bus at the time was a driver, who alleged criminals reportedly removed from the bus before starting the fire.
The most recent incident occurred in the morning just before 10:00 am on Sunday, October 9th, near Jose López Portillo Avenue, a neighborhood not close to the Cancun Hotel Zone. Witnesses to what happened reported that a group of people approached the tourist bus and pulled the driver from the bus. They claim that the group then set the bus on fire, but it is unclear as to how the situation developed after that or if the alleged assailants were captured and arrested.
Firefighters arrived shortly after the fire was started and extinguished it. Municipal police and Civil Protection officers also arrived on the scene and began collecting information from the scene and from witnesses to the incident. At the time, they were still unsure if it was a criminal act or a short circuit in the bus’s electrical system.
Two separate similar crimes took place on different days in September, one on the 19th and another on the 20th. The incident on the 19th took place near the Benito Juárez airport in a building where transport vehicles and taxis were being stored. Armed men allegedly entered the building at around 4:00 am and set vehicles on fire after tying up members of staff who were in the building.
The incident that occurred on September 20th took place in the Cancun Hotel Zone and came much closer to affecting tourists visiting the much-loved vacation destination. Fire was set to a passenger bus while it was parked on Kukulkan Boulevard, which is located in the busiest tourist area in the city. Fortunately, firefighters were able to put out the intense fire before any tourists or residents in the vicinity were injured.
Authorities have not commented on the most recent fire, and investigations are ongoing. Although no definitive cause of the crimes has been established yet, reports on similar incidents in the past suggest that the fires are related to local drug trafficking. It’s possible that the setting of the fires is part of some sort of territorial battle between rival gangs or drug traffickers, although this has not been proven yet.
Much of the crime that occurs in Cancun takes place outside of the Hotel Zone and rarely puts tourists at risk, particularly if they stay within the tourist area of the city. This is because most of the crime is related to the extortion of local business owners or drug trafficking. These recent fires being started by armed men do cause a sense of insecurity, though, and unfortunately, affect how foreigners view the safety of one of their favorite vacation destinations.
Despite recent warnings of safety issues in the Mexican Caribbean, foreign tourists continue to flock to Cancun for their dream vacations. Very few have that dream vacation interrupted by violent, or even petty, crime. As with visiting anywhere else in the world, it is important to stick to tourist areas and to be vigilant of surroundings, and those who do will be able to have their vacation of a lifetime without fear of being a victim of a crime.
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