The United States State Department has been cautioning Americans to avoid traveling to certain areas of Mexico due to threats such as violent crime and kidnapping for ransom, with the advisories becoming more relevant as people plan their spring break trips. The Bureau of Consular Affairs has recently released a series of security alerts, from reports of gunfire and roadblocks in multiple cities in Sinaloa to warning tourists against taking app-based transportation services like Uber in the state of Quintana Roo. Additionally, the State Department updated their Mexico travel advisories, warning that violent crime such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery are “widespread and common” in many parts of Mexico. Mexico’s murder rate has tripled since 2006.
Six Mexican states have been given the highest “do not travel” warning due to crime, and in some cases, an elevated risk of kidnapping. These are: Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, and Zacatecas. Colima, known for its beaches, has been struggling with high levels of violent crime and gang activity. In Guerrero, armed groups often block roads and may use violence toward tourists, with instances of American citizens having been kidnapped there. Michoacan, a popular tourist destination, has been facing high levels of violent crime and drug-related activity, including the risk of kidnapping. Sinaloa is known as a hub for drug trafficking and organized crime, and U.S. citizens have been kidnapped there. Tamaulipas has been plagued by organized crime and violence, with criminal groups targeting public and private passenger buses and private automobiles, often to demand ransom payments. Zacatecas has been experiencing an increase in violent crime, including extortion and gang activity, with U.S. citizens having been kidnapped there.
Seven Mexican states have been given a “reconsider travel” warning by the State Department due to crime and kidnapping. These are: Baja California, Chihuahua, Durango, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Morelos, and Sonora. Jalisco, which is controlled by the powerful Jalisco New Generation Cartel, is where 31 bodies were recently exhumed from two clandestine graves. The remaining states in Mexico have an “exercise increased caution” designation when traveling with the exception of two—Campeche and Yucatan—which carry the “exercise normal precautions” label. Mexico’s murder rate in 2022 stood at around 25 per 100,000 residents, about four times higher than in the United States.