Spring Break Dangers Lurk For Oklahomans Traveling To Paradise

Wednesday, February 6th 2013, 11:14 pm
By: News 9

We've heard a lot lately about escalating violence in Mexico. Yet many Oklahomans, especially teenagers, plan to travel south of the border for spring break. 

Kassidy Kingsley is one of them. She and her mom are spending spring break in Playa Del Carmen with Kassidy's senior class.

"Just enjoy being around our classmates for maybe the last time before we get to walk across the stage," Kassidy said.

"Spending some time with Kassidy before she goes off to college," Diahanna Kingsley said. "Get to hang out at the beach together, swim with the dolphins, go to the spa."

But a day in paradise can be halted by violent crimes. Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics Director Darrell Weaver said drugs and sex trafficking are escalating across Mexico and tourist spots are not immune to the violence.

"When you have drugs, you also have violence. Money, guns, violence and drugs," Weaver said.

Weaver said a fun time or even a brief encounter with a local could be a trap to get you to trust them, before using you for sex or as a drug mule.

"I don't think people should run scared of these terrorists type of people," Weaver said. "We need to enjoy the good things in our lives. But we sure have to be cautious."

"I don't think anyone has the idea of going down there and be like, 'Oh, let's ditch our parents'" Kassidy said.

Weaver said that's one of the biggest keys to safety.

"Stick with your group. Don't overdo it, find balance, have fun," Weaver said. "But be aware there are things looming around you."

That's something Diahanna and Kassidy have already discussed.

"The buddy system," Diahanna said. "We never go without each other."

"It is scary just because you never know. I mean, we are teeanger girls," Kassidy said."So you never know what could happen, but I feel like we got pretty much a lot of the precautions to be safe."

Weaver adds most Mexican resorts are safe. After all, they want our business. The trouble lies if we leave the heavily tourist areas or unknown territory, especially at night.


9 Safety Tips When Travelling In Mexico: 

* Do not flag taxis on the street. Instead, have the hotel or restaurant arrange pickup.  In some places, thieves pose or work with taxis to force passengers to withdraw money from the ATM. It's known as express kidnapping.

* If you need more cash, only use ATM machines during the day that inside shops and malls rather than on the street.

* Do not discuss travel plans, your room number or any personal information when strangers can hear you.

* Register by using only your last name and first initial.

* Check the hotel safe and punch in the code 0000 to make sure it doesn't open. If it opens under that combination, don't use it.

* Keep a flashlight near your bed in case the power goes off. Have the hotel's name and address near you. Also, know the number to call in case of emergency. In Mexico, it's 066.

* If you're drinking or partying, stay where you are and don't go off with someone you have just met.

* Never accept drinks from strangers, especially if you're a woman. The drink could be drugged.

* Exercise common sense while out in the streets, especially in areas less frequented by tourists. Keep a low profile and always be aware of your surroundings, especially the people around you.