After a total of seven Americans have been kidnapped, killed, or gone missing in Mexico in the past few weeks, Texas officials are urging spring breakers to spend their vacation someplace else. "Drug cartel violence and other criminal activity represent a significant safety threat to anyone who crosses into Mexico right now," said Steven McCraw, director of the state's Public Safety Department, per the BBC. The agency suggests that US citizens who do go to Mexico register first with an embassy or consulate.
Two of the four people kidnapped in the city of Matamoros were killed, apparently by a cartel, and three women from Texas disappeared last month. Overall, more than 500 Americans, as well as tens of thousands of Mexicans, are missing, per NPR. In its most recent travel advisory in October, the State Department lists Tamaulipas, which includes Matamoros, under a "Level 4: Do Not Travel" advisory for crime and kidnapping. Major tourist destinations like Cancún, Cabo San Lucas, and Mexico City are rated as considerably less dangerous, at "Level 2: Exercise Increased Caution." That's the same category the State Department puts much of Western Europe in. (Read more Mexico stories.)