US Consulate Given Shelter in Place Warning

( – US consulate members working in the Mexican city of Matamoros received warnings to shelter in place due to the escalation of violence in the region. The area, which has become a hotspot for crime resulting from cartel activity, was the site of a recent shootout between Mexican marines and a group of kidnapping suspects.

The shelter in place warning stood until 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday, September 5, according to Fox News, although the safety of Americans in Matamoros remains questionable. The border city, like many others, has seen increases in gang activity over the past few years.

About one-third of US citizens who go missing in Mexico fall victim in states that border Texas. Nuevo León and Tamaulipas are the hardest hit, but Matamoros — which lies on the other side of the Rio Grande from Brownsville, Texas, has also recently fallen into the danger zone.

Texas Monthly explains that visitors could once depend on busy daylight hours to safeguard them, with the number-one rule being to avoid the border cities at night. Recent events, including the March kidnapping of four US citizens in broad daylight, have changed the way officials and tourists alike are approaching the region.

Roughly 550 Americans have entered Mexico from the United States, never to be seen again. In 2022 alone, 144 US residents have gone missing, with only 73 of them found. Six people have been found dead. Among Mexican residents, an additional 100,000 missing persons reports have gone unsolved.

Residents believe the rise in violence in Matamoros could be due to new gang rivals attempting to challenge the resident cartel. Other areas in the state have become increasingly unstable, with gangs operating above the law and no one, not even local police, willing to face them. Authorities recommend anyone traveling to Mexico refrain from carrying expensive items that might make them targets to criminals — and don’t pack shorts, which only tourists wear, to keep from standing out.

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