By Linda Wilkins
The Texas Department of Public Safety and the Baylor Police Department urge students to avoid going to Mexico for spring break because of the increased violence in the country.
The Texas DPS issued a warning Tuesday (PDF) about going to any part of Mexico, including resort areas.
Drug cartel violence and other criminal activity remains a significant safety threat in the country, despite progress made in battling those issues, DPS director Steven C. McCraw said in a press release.
“The Mexican government has made great strides battling the cartels, and we commend their continued commitment to making Mexico a safer place to live and visit,” McCraw said.
Narcotics deals often lead to violence such as homicides, the release stated. It also said bars, nightclubs and resorts are “havens for drug dealers and petty criminals,” and that resort areas have had an increase in rape and assault cases.
The Baylor Police support the Department of Public Safety’s warning against traveling to the country, Baylor Police Chief Jim Doak said.
In the first nine months of 2011, 12,900 people were killed in Mexico, Doak said.
“We are concerned for our students and we want all our students to return after spring break,” Doak said.
Students thinking about going to Mexico should consider the dangers of their trip, even if they are staying in a resort area that was safe in the past, Doak said. He said all travelers must research their travel plans and make sure they know what they might be headed into.
“If they do go, there is nothing the police department can do about it,” Doak said, referencing the decreased access to help that students may have in Mexico.
Doak said the slaughter in Mexico is “senseless” and students need to apply common sense at the highest level when considering going there. If students go, Doak said, they should leave their information with family and friends so someone can know where they are.
Waco senior Skyy Walton and New York senior Patricia Konowal were aware of the violence in Mexico but decided a cruise would avoid much of the problem by decreasing the amount of time they will spend on land, Walton said. She and Konowal will stop in Cozumel to visit the beaches, and then they will go to Progresso to visit the Mayan ruins.
Walton said her plans for staying safe are to stay in a big group and not go far inland. She said the ruins are the farthest they are going inland in Mexico.
“I am a little nervous about going to Mexico, but I think we’ll be fine because we’re going on a cruise,” Walton said.