Following fatal kidnapping, officials offer travel safety tips to Americans visiting Mexico
Following the kidnapping of four Americans in Matamoros, a spokesman for the Brownsville Police Department offered travel tips for those wanting to travel safely in Mexico.
The Mexican state of Tamaulipas has been on the U.S. government’s Do Not Travel list since 2018 due to a high risk of being kidnapped or assaulted.
Madigal Baaijau is one of hundreds of people who cross into Mexico from Brownsville.
“Matamoros is not safe," Baaijau said. “You have to take care of yourself, you have to watch everywhere you go with people and cars; it's a lot of violence."
RELATED: Americans kidnapped in Matamoros recovering in Brownsville hospital
Crossing over into Mexico has been a way of life for Valley residents for years.
“We cross often, we're always here every other weekend, and we come down to Matamoros,” Eileen Aguilar said. “We didn't really drive in that deep. We were just right here crossing the border …we didn't feel like it was dangerous.”
Brownsville police spokesperson Martin Sandoval says when you’re traveling to Tamaulipas, make sure your family knows where you are, and share your location with them and let them know of your exact plans.
“Make sure your cell phone is completely charged before you go,” Sandoval said. “That way you have some type of communications. Make sure it does work in Mexico, so get in contact with your local carrier."
Police say it’s a good idea to stay in public areas and avoid alleyways and empty streets.
“Stay as close as you can to the international bridges, do not try to venture far into the city,” Sandoval said. “Everything you need is basically right by the bridge. You have doctors, veterinarians, pharmacies, restaurants — you have many things close by."
Sandoval also recommended people keep an eye out for armed men, and to limit your time in Mexico.
"If there's no need to go to Mexico, do not go," Sandoval aid.
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