risk of kidnapping, where to avoid

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The U.S. State Department released an updated travel advisory for U.S. travelers visiting Mexico on Wednesday, including new state-level advice and information on “kidnapping risk.”

The agency cited an “increased risk of crime and kidnapping” in parts of Mexico.

A State Department spokesperson 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 take. the most informed decisions about their safety when traveling abroad.

Last week, the State Department issued an alert to American citizens when reports of “multiple vehicular fires, roadblocks, and heavy police activity” surfaced in and around Tijuana. At a press briefing on Monday, department spokesman Ned Price said there were no reports to share of any U.S. citizens injured or killed in the incident.

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The updated travel advisory includes new information for the states of Coahuila, Mexico, Nayarit and Zacatecas. Travelers should “use extra caution when traveling to” Coahuila, Mexico and Nayarit and “not travel to” Zacatecas.

There is also updated “kidnapping risk” information 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 travel restrictions for U.S. government employees.” Some restrictions include not hailing taxis on the street, but instead using a ride-sharing service like Uber or regulated taxi stands, and not traveling alone.

If a US citizen still decides to travel to a Mexican state with a level 4, or “do not travel”, travel advisory, or a level 3, “reconsider travel to”, travel advisory, they are encouraged to read State Department information on high-risk travel.

Aileen Teague, an assistant professor at Texas A&M University’s Bush School of Government & Public Service, reminds people that while organized crime exists in parts of northeastern Mexico, there are also “beautiful places that depend on tourism. and which are relatively safe”.

“Be careful when you travel to Mexico as you would any other country, but also don’t let some of these media headlines about violence and crime undermine the wonderful things Mexico has to offer and its rich story,” she said. “It’s a shame that people are only focusing on the aspect of crime and violence that is taking place.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has also determined Mexico to be Tier 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 full list of state-level advisories can be viewed online.

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