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Tourists Should Expect To See Armed Military In Playa Del Carmen Bars & Nightclubs

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A surprise joint police and military initiative began in recent days that includes members of the security forces performing surprise inspections in the bars and nightclubs of Playa Del Carmen. While the presence of police and military personnel in the streets of the city is nothing new, it is less common to extend their patrol to the inside of private businesses.

Street in playa del carmen

Why This Is Happening

Thankfully for travelers, this new development isn’t a result of tourism being targeted. Instead, this extended patrol allowance for police and military is directly linked to the deaths of 4 city inspectors who were recently the victims of homicide.

But tourism and the effects of crime on the industry are always driving factors for the security services to act. Unfortunately, these unnecessary deaths happened in a popular LGBTQ+ nightclub that had recently been brought under new management.

Mexican Police Corden

There is a concern that criminals may also be involved in the management of other establishments. In turn, this new initiative serves as a reminder of the freedom of police and military personnel to enter any bar or nightclub to carry out spot inspections. It’s also intended to be a strong reminder that the security services are not taking lightly their protection duty they have for tourists in Playa Del Carmen.

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Military Beach Patrol

This Is What Travelers Can Expect To See

Travelers don’t need to worry about a heavy entry by the police and military while they’re enjoying the Playa Del Carmen nightlife, the inspections aren’t raids, and they’re carried out in a calm matter with police leading the inquiries, and the military providing added protection to these police officers.

Police in Mexico are easy to identify. They wear dark navy uniforms (excluding Tourism Police, who wear white shirts) and have the word ‘Policia’ prominently displayed on their plate carriers. The military are likewise easily identified from their full camouflage uniform that will display either Ejercito (Army), Marina (Marines), or Guardia Nacional (National Guard).

national guard on beach

What They’re Inspecting

These inspections are on the businesses themselves and not the tourists and locals who may be in the establishments enjoying a night of music and dancing at the time. The three main duties of these inspections are:

  • Inspect the establishments’ administration. Ensuring all relevant licenses and permits are valid and confirming the entity is operating legally.
  • The search for narcotics. Bars and nightclubs the world over are magnets for those selling narcotics, and these inspections aim to deter their sale and exposure to tourists.
  • The prevention of high-impact crimes. With these surprise inspections, bars and nightclubs become less attractive for criminals to operate in.
Police on Cancun Street

Why The Military Is Involved

The concept of the military working hand in hand with the police may seem foreign to American and Canadian tourists, and their presence throughout Playa Del Carmen and surrounding destinations can be concerning at first for newcomers.

But it should be remembered that Mexico as a nation works differently from its North American neighbors. The military takes on many internal security roles here and is often used in controlled deployments to increase safety for both tourists and locals.

Mexican Marines

The Guardia Nacional (National Guard), while military, is actually a Gendarmerie force that was created from the joining of the national federal police and the naval police. This means they are a military branch tasked with internal security and law enforcement roles.

This type of law enforcement is a lot more common than travelers may at first think. For example, in the Netherlands, France, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, this is a long-standing form of law enforcement with a good record of achievement.

French Gendarmerie

Should Travelers Be Concerned

While it always pays to be alert and conscious of potential security threats, both while partying at home and abroad, this latest development isn’t a big concern for travelers. Playa Del Carmen is a safe destination for travelers, and the fantastically proactive responses often seen here by law enforcement are a stern reminder that Mexicos tourism is not without serious protection.

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