Security Message for U.S. Citizens

Holiday Travel Precautions

December 11, 2015

With the approaching holiday season, there is often an increase in highway robberies and carjackings on popular transit routes into the interior of Mexico, including on toll roads (“cuotas”).  Criminals are aware that many travelers coming from the United States at this time of year are transporting gifts and monitor the highways to identify potential targets.  They target individuals displaying valuable items or vehicles they believe likely to contain these items, including vehicles with U.S. license plates.
Recent victims who complied with robbers' demands have reported that they were not physically harmed.  In some cases, robbers have shot at vehicles that have attempted to flee.  Robbers have used a variety of techniques, including roadblocks, bumping/moving vehicles to force them to stop, and running vehicles off the road at high speeds.
While violent incidents can occur anywhere and at any time, they most frequently occur after dark and on isolated stretches of roads.  To reduce risk when traveling by road, U.S. citizens are strongly encouraged to take the following precautions:

The Government of Mexico’s “Programa Paisano” provides support to U.S. residents returning to Mexico for the holiday season, including providing security information.    
The current Travel Warning for Mexico provides more specific information for individual Mexican states.  Travelers traveling by road are urged to review the sections on each state they will transit, as well as their final destination.
Maintain a high level of vigilance and take appropriate steps to enhance your personal security. U.S. citizen victims of crime in Mexico are encouraged to report incidents to the police and to the nearest U.S. consular office.
We strongly recommend that U.S. citizens traveling to or residing in Mexico enroll in the Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) at www.Travel.State.GovSTEP enrollment gives you the latest security updates, and makes it easier for the U.S. embassy or nearest U.S. consulate to contact you in an emergency.  If you don’t have Internet access, enroll directly with the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate. 
Regularly monitor the State Department's website, where you can find current Travel Warnings (including the Travel Warning for Mexico), Travel Alerts, and the Worldwide Caution.  Read the Country Specific Information for Mexico.  For additional information, refer to “A Safe Trip Abroad” on the State Department’s website.
Contact the U.S. embassy or consulate for up-to-date information on travel restrictions.  You can also call 1-888-407-4747 toll-free in the United States and Canada or 1-202-501-4444 from other countries.  These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).  Follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and download our free Smart Traveler iPhone App  to have travel information at your fingertips.

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