Following the recent spike in gang activity across Mexico, several of Mexico's tourist destinations have been ramping up security efforts so that tourists remain safe.
After neighboring Cancun launched its own operation against crime, it's now Tulum's turn to strengthen its zero-tolerance policy.
This week, Mexico's status as a low-risk destination was challenged once again by U.S. authorities following the kidnapping of four U.S. nationals in Matamoros, which tragically concluded with two murders and a new diplomatic row between both countries.
Now, popular vacation spots like Tulum are taking preventive measures to avoid further scrutiny and, most importantly, remind visitors that they have nothing to worry about:
Americans Will Be Safe Vacationing In Tulum
The Matamoros incident, albeit rare in nature, has sparked a furious debate in American society, with new travel warnings issued by some states and Conservative congresspeople going as far as accusing the Mexican Government of being lenient when tackling violence.
The highly-publicized case, as well as the impassioned response from the American side, has led the Mexican President himself to retort that Mexico is ‘safer' than the United States.
Otherwise, Americans wouldn't be vacationing or even moving in droves to locations South of the border, as the President argued.
This hasn't stopped the U.S. from issuing new warnings for at least six regions in Mexico, citing elevated security concerns and crime, and while the state of Quintana Roo is still considered a Level 2 destination, where risks are moderate, authorities are taking no chances in ensuring it stays that way.
It's pretty common for security to be tightened in Tulum ahead of peak travel seasons, with cameras being installed in tourist zones routinely and panic buttons being added to bus stops.
But this year, the local administration is truly taking it up a notch by launching new major anti-crime operations.
It is worth noting Quintana Roo, in particular, the Riviera Maya, has always been relatively safe for American tourists.
Although crime can occur, it is often centered in suburban areas, where police presence is limited, and gang activity tends to be more prominent.
In reality, however, the state is not more dangerous than other Level 2 spots listed by the U.S. Department of State, such as urban centers in France, Germany, Italy, or other developed nations.
Due to the attention they attract, crime levels are usually higher in any major tourist destination.
Tulum is no exception.
Despite the acceptable rates of urban violence, the new Mayor of Tulum, Diego Castañón Trejo, has made it one of his top priorities to guarantee both citizen and tourist integrity.
He will be helped in his endeavor by Ricardo Morales Santo, Lieutenant of Frigate Marine.
Mr. Santo has been recently sworn in as the new Secretary of Public Security and Citizen Protection of Tulum, and having commanded several marine infantry battalions, he is bringing his level of experience to the new posting.
According to the Secretary, there will be more patrolling in the coming days across Tulum, and officers ‘are going to do a good job, and are not going to disappoint the citizens‘.
Besides heightened surveillance, his office is also better equipping all security booths within the town and deploying 70 Marines from a unit in Isla Mujeres to the municipality.
They join 150 municipal officers who are already serving in Tulum, carrying out random checks and keeping a close eye on suspicious activities in beach areas.
Lastly, bars and entertainment venues will be required to close earlier in accordance with new security and noise control laws.
The administration hopes that crime is drastically reduced in Tulum within the initial 100 days of the implementation of such measures.
Trejo added that the operation would help citizens, tourists, and businesspeople ‘feel better', as well as generate more investment in Tulum as a safe destination.
Tulum Has Never Taken Security Concerns Lightly
There's no denying Tulum can be overpriced or that development has partly stripped the once-sleepy town of its traditional Mayan character, but detractors simply can't say it is not well-guarded.
This is not the first time law enforcers have been deployed to cordon off Tulum from the rising rates of crime:
During Spring Break, the National Guard was summoned to discourage criminals from operating locally.
At one point, up to 50 troops were stationed in Tulum, guarding the beaches, the historical ruins, and shopping areas.
Having established Tulum is safe to visit, we must remind our readers that safety advice still applies, including:
- Not straying away from tourist zones
- Not seeking or consuming illicit substances
- Not exploring peripheral districts where police protection is limited alone
Read more about Tulum here.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.