South of the Border Violence Spurs Safety Concerns - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

3-1-2009

South of the Border Violence Spurs Safety Concerns

Mayhem in Mexico... A surge in violence south of the border is causing serious safety concerns for many local students headed there for spring break. Officials at West Texas A&M are hoping students will choose another spring break destination. The US State Department recently issued a six page warning, alerting travelers to the dangerous drug cartels that could await them in Mexico. The sand, the sun, the parties.... It's a rite of passage for American college students... But this year, those traveling to Mexico for spring break have more to be worried about than getting sunburned. In numerous border towns, bodies litter the streets and gunfire erupts without warning. Texas governor Rick Perry says, "clearly the situation in Mexico is dire." WT A&M Assistant Director at the JBK says "it's a concern." A concern because so many WT students spend the week partying on South Padre island, and then travel to Mexico for some south of the border fun. Several students we spoke with say they aren't affected by the warning. "It's really pretty bad there but you know I'm not scared." "I wanna say it would discourage me from going there but spring break is about fun and I think a lot of kids around my age are willing to risk it." At the annual spring break safety meeting coming up next week, WT officials hope to change their minds. Rojas says "We want to discourage them from going but we also want to educate them on if you are in Mexico we want you to be safe." The US State Department warns: US citizens are urged to be alert to safety and security concerns when visiting the border region. Criminals are armed with an array of sophisticated weapons. And that's making some students re-think travel plans. "I wouldn't go...I've heard too many stories about girls being kidnapped and victimized there... I was considering going and that makes me feel better about my decision." Most of the violence is taking place in border towns, but officials warn to still be on alert even if you are vacationing in resort areas like Cancun.
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