Local lawmakers in Los Cabos voted to extend the presence of the national guard in the region for almost a decade. Effectively making the presence of the white-coated national guard officers a long-term fixture in Los Cabos. Tourists who have come to the region recently may have already spotted some of these officers patrolling the main tourist spots around the city, as members of the organization were brought to Los Cabos ahead of spring break.
The presence of these national guard members came under heavy scrutiny at the local and national levels. Lawmakers against the initiative to have the national guard patrolling Mexican cities argue that their presence represents a militarization of the state. The problem in cities like Los Cabos is that there aren’t enough active police officers to effectively patrol the area. Currently, there’s less than one police officer for every 1000 residents in Los Cabos. Having the national guard patrolling the area was the quickest path to increasing security.
Why Was There Such An Emphasis On Increasing Security In Los Cabos?
The push to increase security is a debate that is taking place at the national level in Mexico. While the low number of police officers in Los Cabos could be an alarming stat, the region boasts the third-best security rating in the country. According to INEGI, the institute that conducts the census and all sorts of polls in Mexico, Los Cabos residents overwhelmingly reported feeling safe in their city.
Only 26.9% of the people polled reported feeling insecure in Los Cabos. Holding the debate over increasing security ahead of the peak season in Los Cabos is also no accident. Local authorities want to ensure that they can receive backup for this end-of-the-year travel surge.
National Guard Members Usually Wear White Uniforms That Say “Guardia Nacional”
An important thing for tourists to note is that national guard members will typically not be wearing a traditional green military uniform or blue police attire. They usually wear white uniforms that are similar to the ones that army and navy personnel wear in tones of green. They can be identified because they’ll typically have a bulletproof vest on that reads “Guardia Nacional” across the chest. On patrol, they may be carrying large weapons, and tourists who are stopped by them would do well to comply.
The national guard has also taken over the duties of patrolling Mexican roads. If you plan to drive in the region, be aware of the white Dodge Charger that also comes stamped with the legend “Guardia Nacional”. Particularly when traveling on the Transpeninsular road between Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo.
US Travel Advisories Don’t Caution Against Travel to Los Cabos
Los Cabos and La Paz, the two main tourist destinations in Baja California Sur, are directly referenced in the updated travel advisory document that the US State Department released in October. The document reads,
“There are no restrictions on travel for U.S. government employees in Baja California Sur state, which includes tourist areas in Cabo San Lucas, San Jose del Cabo, and La Paz.”
In spite of the lack of travel restrictions, Baja California Sur does remain in the “exercise increased caution” travel advisory level. Alarms went off in recent months due to increased criminal activity in Baja California Norte, where Tijuana is located. Thankfully fewer incidents have taken place in and near the border town as of late.
These issues, though, do not affect Los Cabos in any way, shape, or form. It’s a 23-hour drive from the border to Los Cabos, that’s a clear indication that incidents in one area don’t affect the other. The increase in security throughout the region is part of a national campaign. In the case of Los Cabos, it’s more precautionary than anything else.
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