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Columnist says best to compare US violence to Cancun

Cancun, Q.R. — Since the release of the latest travel warning by the US State Department, opinions have flared about how accurate or fair the travel warning is, which for the first time, included the country’s most visited beach state of Quintana Roo.

A columnist for the Miami Herald however, is attempting to put things into perspective with an article titled, Don’t freak out over U.S. travel warning about Cancún and Los Cabos. Here’s why.

With excerpts referring to Cancun, article author Andres Oppenheimer says that  ”Compared to some crime-ridden U.S. cities — or the deaths from recent U.S. mass shootings — these Mexican resorts look like safe havens.”

He also says, “The warning came as foreign tourism to Mexico rose by 12 percent this year, including an 11 percent rise from the United States, according to Mexico’s Secretary of Tourism Enrique de la Madrid.

“About 60 percent of foreign visitors to the country come from the United States,” adding “Cancún’s state of Quintana Roo had 169 violent killings during the first six months of this year, up from 65 during the same period last year, according to Mexico’s National Public Security System.

“While Cancún’s murder rate is 20 people per 100,000 inhabitants…the equivalent rates for some big U.S. cities is significantly higher: 52 people per 100,000 inhabitants in Baltimore, 50 in Detroit and 20 in Washington, D.C., according to New York University’s Brennan Center for Justice figures.

“In numbers of murders, Quintana Roo’s 169 murders during the first half of this year were about half of Chicago’s 328 people killed over the same period.”

He’s not alone. Area residents have also expressed concern about the concentrated media in an article Is it Safe to Live in Mexico which hits on similar points as Mr. Oppenheimer, who says is is a frequent visitor to the Cancun / Riviera Maya region.

Just last week, Secretariat of Tourism Enrique de la Madrid released figures showing Mexico is expected to reach a new record in the arrival of foreign visitors, reporting that by the end of the year, the country is expected to see more than 37.5 million visitors, up from 35 million the previous year, despite the problems of insecurity.

He acknowledged that the issue of insecurity is a matter of concern and should be an incentive to do things better.