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14 people reported killed in 36 hours in Cancun near tourist destinations

14 people reported killed in 36 hours in Cancun near tourist destinations

Nine of the deaths took place April 4, making it one of the bloodiest days in Cancun’s history, according to Noticaribe, a news organization based in Quintana Roo. The site reports that 16 people have been killed in Cancun so far this month.

The consul general of Mexico in Austin, Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, acknowledged the risks in the city. “Cancun is considered an area where the American people should exercise some caution.”

The Mexican government knows organized crime poses a threat to its economy and has added security forces, he said in an interview posted by KXAN-TV in Austin.

“Tourism is an extremely important  industry for us. It has increased at approximately 10 percent per year for the last four to five years and that means that for Mexico and for the Mexican government it’s extremely important to exercise all cautionary measures,” Gonzalez Gutierrez said.

Experts have attributed the increasing crime to drug cartels generally, as well as specifically the United States’ opioid crisis and looser marijuana laws are spurring gangs to shift from growing marijuana to producing heroin, according to USA Today.

Mexico reached a record 29,158 homicides in 2017 and the rate in the first two months of 2018 rose 21 percent over the same period last year, the newspaper reported.

But Mexico’s tourism officials have emphasized that such statistics are “not related to incidents that directly affected foreign visitors” to places such as Cancun. The U.S. State Department also has recognized that many “homicides appeared to be targeted, criminal organization assassinations.”

But “turf battles between criminal gangs have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens,” and “shooting incidents injuring or killing bystanders have occurred.”

The tropical coastal town of Cancun, which is perched along the Caribbean Sea in southeastern Mexico, attracts millions of Americans to its warm beaches each year.   

The U.S. government issued a travel advisory earlier this year for several popular tourist spots in Mexico, including Cancun — which is known as the spring break capital of the country. The advisory said Americans should “exercise increased caution” because of widespread violent crimes such as homicides, kidnappings and carjackings.