Texas DPS issues 2012 spring break travel warning for Mexico

Stock photo of travel warning signThe Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) is urging all Texas spring breakers to avoid traveling to Mexico.

The U.S. State Department website lists several travel alerts related to violence in Mexico. Travelers should always check that website for the most up-to-date information related to security issues in Mexico.

SMU News has posted the official notice from TxDPS, which was e-mailed to all SMU faculty, staff and students on Tuesday, March 6. Read the full alert.

Texas DPS warns spring break travelers to avoid Mexico

Stock photo of road warning signThe Texas Department of Public Safety (TxDPS) is urging all Texas spring breakers to avoid traveling to Mexico.

The U.S. State Department website lists several travel alerts related to violence in Mexico. Travelers should always check that website for the most up-to-date information related to security issues in Mexico.

The official notice from TxDPS:

March 1, 2011

DPS discourages Spring Break travel to Mexico
Reminds boaters of dangers on Falcon Lake

The Texas Department of Public Safety is urging Spring Breakers to avoid traveling to Mexico because of continued violence – and reminding boaters to stay on the U.S. side of Falcon Lake.

Falcon Lake has been the scene of several robberies and a U.S. citizen’s murder, and DPS is again warning boaters to steer clear of the Mexican side of the lake. Cartel activity remains high in that area.

“While drug cartel violence is most severe in northern Mexico, it is prominent in other parts of the country as well,” said DPS Director Steven C. McCraw. “Various crime problems also exist in many popular resort areas, such as Acapulco and Cancun, and crimes against U.S citizens often go unpunished.”

So far this year, an ICE agent was killed and another injured in a suspected ambush near San Luis Potosi February 15. Two El Paso teens were gunned down February 5 in Ciudad Juarez. In January, a Texas missionary was shot in the head when she and her husband ran an illegal road block in Nuevo León.

In addition to U.S citizens killed so far this year, preliminary figures show as many as 65 Americans were killed in Mexico in 2010. Kidnapping, sexual assault, robbery and carjacking also are threats in parts of Mexico. Suspects have not been prosecuted in many of the cases. Meanwhile, more than 30,000 Mexican citizens have died in drug-related violence since 2006, and the violence shows no signs of abating.

“Drug violence has not discriminated – innocent bystanders and people who may have been in the wrong place at the wrong time are among the casualties. Underestimating the violence in Mexico would be a mistake for parents and students,” said McCraw. “Our safety message is simple: avoid traveling to Mexico during Spring Break and stay alive.”

DPS acknowledges that many travel to Mexico without incident, but the risks cannot be ignored. Travelers are encouraged to carefully research any planned trips.

Travelers should always check the U.S. State Department website for the most up-to-date information related to security issues in Mexico. (See http://travel.state.gov/travel/cis_pa_tw/cis/cis_970.html or http://mexico.usembassy.gov/eng/eacs_MexicoSecurityUpdate.html.)

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Mexico are urged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through their website at https://travelregistration.state.gov/ibrs/ui/.

> Read more, including safe spring break tips, from SMU News

State Department urges caution for travel to Mexico, Europe

Stock photo of travelers in an airportThe Bureau of Consular Affairs for the U.S. State Department has issued a travel warning for Mexico because of drug-related violence, particularly in the northern border regions, and a travel alert for Europe because of heightened concerns about potential terrorist attacks.

If you are planning to travel to Mexico, or are currently in Mexico, please consult the travel warning and the U.S. Embassy’s Mexico Security Update.

If you are planning to travel to Europe, or are currently in Europe, please consult the travel alert, the regularly updated Worldwide Caution and the country-specific information found through the Department’s homepage.

State Department Tips for Those Traveling in Mexico include:

  • If you believe you are being targeted for kidnapping or other crimes, notify Mexican law enforcement officials and the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City or the nearest U.S. consulate as soon as possible.
  • Make every attempt to travel on main roads during daylight hours, particularly the toll (“cuota”) roads, which generally are more secure.
  • Stay in the well-known tourist areas. Leave your itinerary with a friend or family member not traveling with you and avoid traveling alone.
  • Check with your cellular provider prior to departure to confirm that your cell phone is capable of roaming on GSM or 3G international networks.
  • Do not display expensive-looking jewelry or large amounts of money.
  • Be alert to pickpockets and general street crime throughout Mexico, but especially in large cities.
  • Monitor local media for information about fast-breaking situations that could affect their security.

State Department Tips for Those Traveling Abroad include:

  • Register so the State Department can better assist you in an emergency.
  • Sign your passport, and fill in the emergency information.
  • Leave copies of your itinerary, passport data page and visas with family or friends, so you can be contacted in case of an emergency.
  • Ask your medical insurance company if your policy applies overseas, and if it covers emergency expenses such as medical evacuation.
  • Familiarize yourself with local conditions and laws.
  • To avoid being a target of crime, do not wear conspicuous clothing or jewelry and do not carry excessive amounts of money.
  • In case of emergency, contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate.

If you need more information or have additional questions, call 214-768-4475.