Officials in Cancun have increased beach security after an incident in which two people on jet skis reportedly shot at a man on the beach.
The Riviera Maya News reports that, on April 19, two people on jet skis reportedly shot at a man in a beach area in front of a hotel in the destination’s Hotel Zone. The man was allegedly a drug dealer. The next day, Cancun officials sent additional security personnel to monitor the beach area.
Government Secretary Francisco López Mena told Riviera Maya News that officials have begun to identify areas where people involved in the drug trade live, and that these people are linked to criminal groups and drug traffic.
The shooting is the latest in a series of violent incidents in Cancun over the past month. From April 4 – 5, 14 people were killed over the course of 36 hours, with nine killed on April 4 alone, making it the most violent day in Cancun for the past decade. The crimes are thought to be the result of rising drug violence associated with the opioid epidemic in the United States.
Despite the violence, travel to Cancun has continued to increase, most recently with a major travel surge over the Easter holiday weekend. During the month of March, arrivals at Cancun International Airport were up 14.5 percent over the previous year, well over half of which were international visitors arriving for a vacation. Hotels in Cancun and the Riviera Maya averaged a 90 percent occupancy rate over the holiday weekend.
Quintana Roo, which includes Cancun as well as other tourist areas Cozumel, Playa del Carmen, Tulum and the Riviera Maya, remains rated by the State Department as Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution, due to the risk of violent crime like homicide, kidnapping, carjacking and robbery. A Level 2 ranking means that travelers should be “aware of heightened risks to safety and security” within the destination. That puts it in the same overall ranking as other popular tourist destinations for travelers from the United States, including the United Kingdom, France and Italy.