The U.S. State Department has issued a warning to American citizens amid security concerns in the Mexican states of Durango, Coahuila, and Chihuahua.
Increased violence in these areas as well as several border areas including Ciudad Juarez, Tijuana, Chihuahua City, Nogales, Matamoros, Reynosa and Monterrey have resulted in U.S. officials urging tourists and U.S. citizens travelling in Mexico to exercise extreme caution.
Crimes including robberies, homicides, petty thefts, and carjackings have increased over the past year in many areas of the country.
In addition, violence by Mexican drug cartels has been increasing in some areas. Some recent confrontations between Mexican authorities and drug cartel members have resembled small-unit combat, with cartels employing automatic weapons and grenades. Large firefights have taken place in towns and cities across Mexico, but have become especially common in border towns.
The State Department says that it is imperative that U.S. citizens understand the safety risks associated with travel in Mexico, how best to avoid dangerous situations, and who to contact if victimized. Common sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours, and avoiding areas where prostitution and drug dealing might occur, can help ensure that travel to Mexico is safe and enjoyable.