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Tourist Kidnappings on the Rise in Mexico

Is Tijuana safe for Americans?

Mexican kidnappers are getting more organized and honing in on Americans visiting tourist hot-spots in Mexico. The State Department cautions US citizens to be more careful and vigilant about their own safety when visiting Mexico.

Americans Kidnapped in MexicoAmericans Kidnapped in Mexico"We have no power to get anyone out of jail or to represent anyone in a criminal proceeding if they get in trouble," said Steve Royster, a spokesperson for the US consulate's office. A "warden message" was issued last month to all Americans, warning that kidnappings in Mexico have doubled since 2006.

Though some of the victims were returned home, many were brutally tortured during ransom negotiations.

"The brutality that is inflicted on some of these people is unconscionable," FBI agent, Keith Slotter told CNN.

Police say potential kidnappers target tourist areas where they're more likely to find someone driving a nice car, shopping in expensive stores - people they think can afford a healthy ransom. The kidnappings appear to be random, but a few common sense rules can help keep you safe:

Trust your instincts: If you feel like you're being followed or targeted, act. Get yourself to a public area where it's much harder to quietly whisk someone away.

Chaperone yourself: If you're going to drink, do it at your hotel or resort rather than out on the town. There's less risk of attack steps away from your room.

Use the buddy system: Never wander into unfamiliar areas alone.

Disrupt the plan: If you're in a crowded area with lots of people around, yell words like "FIRE." Make a scene, bite, break things - anything you can do to attract attention.

Planning to head to Mexico, despite the warnings? How do you plan to stay safe?

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all of you need to look up the story on Eduardo Valseca. The story is titled "The desperate hours." http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/35781197/ns/dateline_nbc-international/ the other "kidnap on hwy 1 Live to Tell" http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/01/01/48hours/main6044922.shtml anyone dumb enough to go to Mexico, as dangerous as it is right now you almost want to say they deserve whatever happens, but no one does. There are plenty of places in the world to go visit, just check Mexico off your list. It's SO dangerous there right now. I used to see a dentist in Tijiuana, I will NEVER return after watching what happened to these people. NOT worth it. Some people in border areas of Arizona & San Diego are even being kidnapped. Are you kidding me? It's horrible.

I have been to Mexico 3 times now. When in public areas I would always look over my shoulder and pay close attention to my surroundings. I thought I was being paranoid. Turns out I was doing the right thing. My thoughts go out to those who are abducted while just trying to have fun.

Over the last two years I have been to Puela twice. Great people, thinking of setting up a business there. I think you have to use care and caution anywhere you are. But I don't feel in more danger than I would in Dallas on a Friday night in Deep Ellum. One of the keys is you just don't flash your wealth if you are wealthy and take care in what you say to whom.

I have traveled to Mexico many times as well as all over latin America. My wife is Mexican and I thought it would never happen to me, However In August men dressed as police tried to abduct my son and me on the road from Acapulco to Diamante Beach. It scared the hell out of me. Although I love Mexico I will never go there again. There are just to may other places in Latin America that are nicer and safer.

I have just returned from Los Cabos and managed to escape a kidnapping. Never thought this would happen to me. This started with two men taking pictures of me and my friend by the side of the pool at the Riu Palace, the following days were a case a survival for our lives. It was traumatic and terrible experinece and we managed to get out with the help of the British Embassy. Do not go to this area. I am middle aged and never thought this would happen to me. I am very lucky so please be very careful.

It may be hard for my fellow Americans to take the news reported as fact, but Mexico is more dangerous now then it ever has been. Since the President of Mexico declared war on the drug lords, the cartels have been supplementing their income by kidnapping rich tourists. The problem has risen to epedemic proportions. All you have to do is google Phoenix AZ, kidnappings to see how many hundereds of Americans have been kidnapped in the middle of the day and dragged across the border, tortured and sometimes returned when the ransom is paid. It's a huge problem and we need to open our eyes to options and help Mexico secure her borders and her people.

If we avoided every country where a tourist was injured in an accident, was a victim of a crime, contracted an illness, or was killed, I don't think there would be anywhere in the world left to travel. There are no easy answers, and if we avoided travel we would be cheating ourselves out of many great experiences and opportunities. <br/><br/>Health and safety should be considered when choosing a destination, but people should make a decision based on credible information rather than media hype. Everyone has a different threshold for risk, but you might just find that there are comparatively few places in the world you shouldn't travel rather than a long list of countries to avoid.

how can one compare a city in US to mexico?? the fact that nothing yet happened to you has no statistical significance. while it is still true that you are safe at most beach resorts, mexico remains number one country for kidnappings where, unlike in Colombia, foreigners are targeted in particular. Enjoy your travels, but stay safe.

Fine. Let's compare the US to Mexico. Is it fair to categorize the entire US as extremely violent and unsafe because there were 390 murders in Philadelphia last year? I don't think so. One shouldn't do the same thing to Mexico because of issues in the border towns.

I am a female Ohio native, living near Playa del Carmen, not far from Cancun. I've lived here four years and driven here 3 times from the US, as well as into several other Mexican states and I have experienced exactly NO crime at all. I have no doubt the border towns can be risky. However, in the rest of Mexico, maintaining the same precautions one would take in any new area is normally the only thing needed for safety. Should we tell everyone outside of the US not to visit ANY place in the US because the crime levels in NYC and Philly and LA are so dangerous? No, because that would be silly.

Good point, but TOURISTS are not the TARGET of most of those crimes in the U.S.!

Hi I am going to drive into Mexico. I want to drive to the Yucatan area. I have a month off so I think it would be a great road trip. well I am wondering what cities and route do you take to get to Playa del Carmen?? Thanks for any response

Better not to drive if you can travel by bus. Buses are not apt to be targets like cars with US plates that also can be stolen. The buses in Mexico are very comfortable like flying in a plane they often have movies and it is safer.Plan your trip and don't travel alone especially if you are female.Women traveling alone are a target Good luck and stay alert.

Simple answer to this problem: Stay away from Mexico.

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