A recent announcement from the Texas Department of Public Safety warned students against traveling to Mexico over spring break, citing "the unpredictable nature of cartel violence and other criminal elements."
The full message reads:
The Mexican government has made great strides battling the cartels, and the department commends their continued commitment to that effort. DPS also has a responsibility to inform the public about safety and travel risks and threats, and based on the unpredictable nature of cartel violence and other criminal elements, the department urges individuals to avoid travel to Mexico at this time.
This is the sixth year in a row that the Texas DPS has advised spring breakers to avoid Mexico. As the LA Times pointed out last year, it's odd to make a sweeping statement about such a large country without noting any regional distinctions—for example, there is a high travel advisory in place for the state of Guerrero, in which the mass kidnapping (and probable mass homicide) of 43 students occurred last September; there is no such advisory for, say, the Yucatan or Oaxaca.
The State Department noted, however (in a travel warning last updated in December 2014), that while "millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year for study, tourism, and business," and "there is no evidence that organized criminal groups have targeted U.S. visitors or residents based on their nationality," there is cause for increased concern:
The number of kidnappings throughout Mexico is of particular concern and appears to be on the rise. According to statistics published by the Mexican Secretaria de Gobernacion (SEGOB), in 2013 kidnappings nationwide increased 20 percent over the previous year. While kidnappings can occur anywhere, according to SEGOB, during this timeframe, the states with the highest numbers of kidnappings were Tamaulipas, Guerrero, Michoacán, Estado de Mexico, and Morelos.
Additionally, according to a widely publicized study by the agency responsible for national statistics (INEGI, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography), Mexico suffered an estimated 105,682 kidnappings in 2012; only 1,317 were reported to the police. Police have been implicated in some of these incidents.
So, yeah. Maybe it's time to take the foam party somewhere else.
Image via Associated Press