Spring Breakers Warned to Avoid Mexico
Spring Break is right around the corner for Texas students — but a traditional destination is off limits this year.
Mexico has long been a party destination for college students. The U.S. State Department estimates more than 100,000 young Americans travel to Mexico for Spring Break every year. But officials warn it's not safe.
Texas Department of Public Safety Spokesman Tom Vinger says many crimes against Americans in Mexico go unpunished.
Vinger: The situation in Mexico today is significantly different than it was just a decade ago. Things have changed. There is a violent drug war that is raging across the country. And the Mexican government is making great strides in battling the cartels; however, cartel violence and other criminal activity represent a significant safety threat, even in some resort areas.
A little more than a week ago, a busload of Carnival Cruise passengers was robbed at gunpoint near Puerto Vallarta. Vinger says crime in Mexico is on the rise, including homicide. The number of U.S. citizens reported murdered in Mexico went from 35 in 2007 to 120 last year.
Vinger: It is important for people to research the situation, get their information from as many sources as possible, not just people who stand to make a financial gain. We believe that the risk cannot be ignored.
DPS warns against any travel to Mexico, but travelers who do go are urged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or consulate in the region they're visiting.
-- Laurie Johnson, KUHF- Houston Public Radio