Mexico or bust: How to be safe over spring break

klendaEven after the capture of Sinaloa Federation leader Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman Loera, there is questionable safety for those planning to travel to Mexico over spring break.

Guzman Loera was known as the most wanted and prolific drug lord in the world with a worldwide drug market operating under his thumb.

With the capture of this man there is now a rising question about the violence following his arrest, many are asking: Is it safe to go to Mexico for spring break?

 

 

According to a recent Stratfor article, the resort cities are not likely to see immediate violence as a result of his arrest.

But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take safety precautions.

Mexico, in recent years, has been risky for travelers. Figures taken from Mexico’s National System of Public Security state a major increase in murders in Mexico, from 11,800 in 2006 to 20,600 in 2012.

In the past five years, 1,300 people have been beheaded in Mexico.

If the numbers alone aren’t alarming, the faltering reliability of Mexico’s law enforcement should be.

According to Stratfor, many police officers are on a cartel’s payroll, and you can’t expect them to protect you.

The U.S. Department of State has five travel advisories that it suggests travelers follow, but they seem to be extremely vague and unrealistic.

The Department of State says to avoid underage drinking and excessive alcohol consumption. Despite this, I think it’s safe to say the No. 1 reason students go to Mexico over spring break is to drink at the age of 18 and avoid trouble from U.S. drinking regulations.

Another states to stay in touch with your parents, which seems to be another obvious task.

Although the State Department is trying to help with the issuing of these tips, I think it’s a long shot to expect students in college going to Mexico not to drink.

Along with the list directed at students, the U.S. Department of State has also already issued a travel warning for Mexico.

According to the website, it has different circumstance for issuing a warning opposed to an alert, “We issue a Travel Warning when we want you to consider very carefully whether you should go to a country at all.”

The Mexico travel warning was issued on Jan. 9 of this year. It replaced the warning issued in July 2013.

The advisory has been put out on the grounds of threats of safety and security posed by “Transnational Criminal Organizations.”

These organizations have had a huge impact on organized crime throughout Mexico which oftentimes involves U.S. citizens.

There have been instances of shooting in broad daylight and kidnappings, with an estimated 105,682 kidnappings in 2012 alone.

Car jacking and highway robberies also pose a threat to U.S. citizens driving into Mexico, where U.S. citizens have been murdered in such instances.

My reasoning behind this article is not to scare everyone away from Mexico, or to instill fear, but simply to raise awareness.

The travel advisories seem silly and unhelpful, but the key to a safe trip to Mexico is being well-informed.

Everyone wants to go to Mexico to party for a week with no drinking age, and while that is fine, the right precautions should be taken.

Students need to be aware of what is happening in their surroundings and how to better protect themselves.

When it comes down to it, don’t travel alone, don’t draw attention to yourself and if you are going to drink, be mindful of your surroundings.

Going on spring break doesn’t have to be a scary thing, but it can be if you’re not smart.

We have all heard the horror stories of college students going on spring break and never coming back, but with the right prior knowledge and the right mindset, we can all better protect ourselves even a little from the current threats of traveling.

Reach the columnist at Lauren.Klenda@asu.edu or follow her on Twitter @laurenklenda