State Dept. Advise US Travelers Going to Mexico of Violent Crimes
WESLACO – Many people are being reported missing in Mexico. The best advice from the U.S. State Department and FBI is to take action immediately.
Homicide, kidnapping, and carjacking – some of the violent crimes the State Department warns U.S. travelers may encounter in Mexico.
Those who go missing are reported to the State Department. Just how many is a number too volatile to publish says Kevin Brosnahan, U.S. Department of State Bureau of Consular Affair Press Officer.
“A lot of people, who are reported missing in any country, often return quickly. So, those cases could open and close within a matter of hours or a matter of days,” said Brosnahan.
The bulk of the missing person cases at the FBI San Antonio Office are about Mexico.
U.S. citizens or permanent residents go missing sometimes for no reason. Sometimes the person could have been involved in criminal activity.
FBI Special Agent Michelle Lee says they will help you either way.
“We're going to help you regardless of the reason why this situation may have happened,” she said.
If you get a ransom call confirming a kidnapping or haven’t heard from your friend or relative by the agreed upon time, it is recommended that you quickly contact authorities.
Brosnahan said, “Early reporting of a disappearance is critical to a successful outcome.”
Each U.S. Embassy has an officer on call 24/7. Reach out to them and the FBI with as much information as you have.
“They're afraid of being completely upfront with us, and they withhold information. It's really important that we know everything because that gives us a better chance at making a safe recovery,” says Lee.
Once they’re involved, the FBI can talk to people on the U.S. side of the border and work together with their Mexican counterparts who lead the investigations.
Travelers heading to Mexico can also prepare in advance by researching the Mexican state they plan to visit by going to the State Department website.
Have a communication plan laid out with family or friends. In it, detail how often you’ll be in touch, whether via phone or email.
Leave contact information and share a copy of your itinerary if possible. This will help authorities find you in case of an emergency.
You can also sign up for the State Department’s STEP program on their web page.
They will send you notifications of protests, natural disasters or transportation disruptions in the area you visit.