Mexico’s deadly narco-violence creeps into its most popular tourist areas

Police guard the entrance to the Blue Parrot nightclub after shooting Monday Jan. 16. (PHOTO:

Christopher Woody from Business Insider reports on the increase in the number of violent crimes in the most importants tourist destinations in México…. 

Mexico’s deadly drug-related violence surged to a new record in June, with 2,566 homicides that month alone.

The country has seen a steady rise in killing since around 2015, and last month and the first six months of the year both had more homicides than any of the same periods over the past two decades.

Mexico’s most popular tourist areas have largely avoided that bloodshed. But that trend appears to be reversing.

In Quintana Roo, a state in Mexico’s southeast home to the resort areas of Cancun and Playa del Carmen, the 134 homicides registered so far this year are nearly equal to the 165 seen all last year, according to government crime data.

The Benito Juarez municipality, where Cancun is located, has already exceeded last year’s total of 89 homicides, with 95 through June. In Solidaridad, the municipality Playa del Carmen is in, the 21 homicides seen through June is nearly as many as the 26 there were all last year.

The violence has largely taken place outside of areas frequented by tourists, who drive what is a $20 billion industry for Mexico, and statistics suggest it hasn’t had great effect on how many people are visiting — occupancy rates exceed 90%. Cancun’s government and the criminal groups involved have similar reasons for keeping the killings from being publicized.

Mexico nightclub shooting Playa del Carmen blue parrot police
Police guard the entrance of the Blue Parrot nightclub in Playa del Carmen, January 16, 2017, after a deadly shooting there while it was hosting part of the BPM electronic music festival. (AP Photo))

But the bodies have continued to pile up. Three men were shot at a nightclub there in November. In January, back-to-back shootings marred life in both Cancun and Playa del Carmen.

The latter incident, a January 17 shooting outside a nightclub in Playa del Carmen, left five people dead. The next day, gunmen on motorcycles attacked state government and security buildings located about 5 miles from the Cancun’s hotel district, leaving at least two people dead, including a police officer.

In June, one suspect was killed and two wounded in a shootout in a downtown area of Cancun; the next day, two dismembered bodies were found in a suitcase in a marshy area outside the city’s tourist zone. A government survey that month also found 79% of Cancun residents saw the city as “insecure.” In July, a shootout on a main avenue in Cancun left three injured, and a police commander was killed outside his home later that month.

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