PHOENIX (AP) — Arizona’s three state universities sent out warnings this month that spring breakers should avoid traveling to Mexico and the resort area of Puerto Peñasco because of increased border violence.
However, federal and state officials say the popular destination hasn’t witnessed an upswing in violence.
On Feb. 12, the University of Arizona issued a travel advisory to its students via e-mail that said “Every student should be aware that Mexico in general has seen a marked increase in violence recently,” wrote Carol Thompson, dean of students.
An October advisory from the U.S. State Department noted an increase in violence in northern Mexico.
“The location and timing of future armed engagements cannot be predicted,” the advisory said.
The department also warned that criminals have followed and harassed Americans driving in border areas.
Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard says safety concerns around Puerto Peñasco are at a “far lesser degree” than other areas such as Nogales, Juarez and Tijuana.
The highway to the beach resort is heavily patrolled by Mexico officials who have an interest in keeping it safe for tourists, Goddard said.
Tom Mangan, a spokesman for the Phoenix office of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, also said that violence has not spread to the Mexican resort area.
But Mangan said he couldn’t guarantee Puerto Peñasco would stay free of violence.
Mangan said tourists should travel in daylight hours and let others know where they will be.
Goddard said that tourists should be cautious, but didn’t recommend not traveling to the Gulf of California.
“I have plans to be there during Spring Break,” Goddard said.
Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com