The U.S. Department of State issued an updated travel advisory for citizens traveling to Mexico, expanding a Dec. 8 warning to include the state of Quintana Roo, home to several resorts popular with American tourists.
The advisory issued Tuesday hits at the heart of Mexico's tourism industry. Quintana Roo, which includes resort towns of Cancun, Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Riviera Maya, and Tulum, has seen a rise in homicide rates, according to the State Department.
"While most of these homicides appeared to be targeted criminal organization assassinations, turf battles between criminal groups have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by U.S. citizens. Shooting incidents, in which innocent bystanders have been injured or killed, have occurred," the advisory warned.
In a state-by-state assessment, the department reiterated the dangers of traveling in the northern state of Baja California, which includes Cabo San Lucas, Tijuana, Rosarito, Ensenada, Tecate and Mexicali, and advised citizens to exercise caution.
"Criminal activity and violence, including homicide, remain an issue throughout the state," according to the State Department. Homicides rates this year have increased compared to the same period in 2016, according to the Secretary of Public Security for the State of Baja Calif.
The State Department noted there is no evidence that criminal organizations have targeted U.S. citizens based on their nationality. However, shooting incidents involving criminal organization assassinations and turf battles between criminal groups, have occurred during daylight hours in areas frequented by U.S. citizens.
Innocent bystanders have been injured in the ongoing public acts of violence between rival criminal organizations, officials said.
Mexico City, Hidalgo, Guanajuato (includes San Miguel de Allende and Leon), Campeche, Puebla, Queretaro, Tabasco (includes Villahermosa), Tlaxcala and Yucatan (includes Merida and Chichen Itza) do not have advisories in effect.
U.S. citizens can contact the nearest U.S. embassy or Consulate in Mexico at +52-55-5080- 2000 x4440, (5080-2000 for calls in Mexico City, 01-55-5080-2000 for long distance calls in Mexico) Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. CT. In case of an emergency, the after-hours number for U.S. citizens is +52-55-5080-2000.