Here are a couple of travel advisories about Mexico that illustrate my point. I wasn't talking about just that one couple, who are mentioned in the first advisory, but the increase in general.
U.S. Issues Travel Advisory For Mexico
Friday February 27, 2009
If you're among the scores of high school and college students that plan to head to Mexico for spring break, you may want to think twice this year.
Escalating drug violence has prompted a travel advisory from the U.S. State Department and universities across the country.
And while Ottawa stopped short of advising its citizens not to travel to the volatile region, Foreign Affairs does warn of the danger.
"Canadians travelling to Mexico should exercise a high degree of caution...due to high levels of criminal activity, some involving the use of violence," the website reads.
But the Flight Centre's Chris Perrotta says he hasn't noticed any change in travel patterns yet.
"I was in a resort just south of Playa del Carmen, which is on the Mayan Riviera - and nothing at all. There were tons of Canadians, tons of Americans. The hotel was at full capacity, and I felt no sense of danger at all."
More than 6,000 people died last year in a bloody war for smuggling routes among the country's drug cartels. They've been carrying out massacres and dumping beheaded bodies in the streets - even engaging in brazen shootouts with the military and law enforcement personnel.
Most of the drug violence is happening in border towns, and tourists generally have not been targeted. But there have been killings in the spring-break resorts of Acapulco and Cancun, well away from the border.
Ontario residents Rita Calara and Yoyo Manela were injured when a gunman fired into the lobby of an Acapulco hotel in February 2007.
Weeks before, two other Canadians died while vacationing in the area. The family of 19-year-old Woodbridge resident Adam De Prisco, killed in Acapulco, says he was beaten to death. But Mexican authorities say he was struck by a car. And Glifford Glasier of Chatham, Ont. was killed in Guadalajara after an apparent hit-and-run. His wife was also badly injured and left in a coma.
In 2006, Woodbridge couple Domenic and Nancy Ianiero was found murdered in their room at a resort in the Mayan Riviera.
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State Department issues Mexico travel advisory
12:00 AM CDT on Sunday, April 5, 2009
The Washington Post
MEXICO CITY " The latest travel advisory for Mexico from the U.S. State Department was issued Feb. 20.
"Recent Mexican army and police confrontations with drug cartels have resembled small-unit combat, with cartels employing automatic weapons and grenades," the advisory says. "Large firefights have taken place in many towns and cities across Mexico but most recently in northern Mexico, including Tijuana, Chihuahua City and Ciudad Juarez. During some of these incidents, U.S. citizens have been trapped and temporarily prevented from leaving the area."
The language used to describe the situation in Mexico is strong. "While most crime victims are Mexican citizens, the uncertain security situation poses serious risks for U.S. citizens as well," the alert says.
"Robberies, homicides, petty thefts and carjackings have all increased over the last year across Mexico generally, with notable spikes in Tijuana and northern Baja California. Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana and Nogales are among the cities which have recently experienced public shootouts during daylight ... in shopping centers and other public venues."
The State Department isn't advising visitors to avoid all of Mexico but is urging them to use extra caution and avoid specific locales and behaviors.
In Mexico, those behaviors include driving at night, buying drugs and visiting the state of Durango.
.gov (click on "Travel Alerts.")
The Washington Post