The U.S. State Department issued an updated Travel Advisory Wednesday for U.S. travelers visiting Mexico, including new state-level advice and information on “kidnapping risk.”
The agency cited an “increased risk of crime and kidnapping” in certain areas of Mexico.
A spokesperson for the State Department told USA TODAY in an email that the agency regularly reviews all Travel Advisories to ensure U.S. citizens have the most relevant and timely information to make the most informed decisions regarding their safety and security when traveling overseas.
Last week, the State Department issued an alert to U.S. citizens when reports of “multiple vehicle fires, roadblocks, and heavy police activity” surfaced in Tijuana and the surrounding area. On Monday in a press briefing, Department spokesperson Ned Price said there were no reports to share on U.S. citizens being injured or killed in the incident.
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The updated Travel Advisory includes new information on the Coahuila, Mexico, Nayarit, and Zacatecas states. Travelers should “exercise increased caution when traveling to” Coahuila, Mexico and Nayarit and “not travel to” Zacatecas.
There is also updated information on the “kidnapping risk” for the states of Colima, Michoacan, Sinaloa, Tamaulipas, Zacatecas, Baja California, Chihuahua, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Sonora, Nuevo Leon, Puebla, Quintana Roo and San Luis Potosi.
According to the advisory, “U.S. citizens are advised to adhere to restrictions on U.S. government employee travel.” Some restrictions include not hailing taxis from the street but rather using a rideshare service like Uber or regulated taxi stands, and to not travel alone.
If a U.S. citizen still decides to travel to a Mexican state with a Level 4, or “do not travel to,” Travel Advisory or Level 3, “reconsider travel to,” Travel Advisory, they are urged to read the State Department’s information on high-risk travel.
Aileen Teague, assistant professor at The Bush School of Government & Public Service at Texas A&M University, reminds people that while organized crime does exist in parts of northeastern Mexico, there are also “beautiful places that are dependent on tourism and relatively safe.”
“Use caution when traveling to Mexico as you would to any other country, but also don’t let some of these media headlines of violence and criminality undermine the wonderful things that Mexico has to offer and its rich history,” she said. “It’s a shame for people to only focus on the aspect of crime and violence that take place.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also determined Mexico to be Level 3, or High, for COVID-19.
Earlier this year, Americans were warned to “avoid travel to Mexico” after recent security incidents in tourist destinations like Cancun and Playa Del Carmen. The entire list of state-level advisories can be found online.