(NewsNation) — The State Department is warning Americans to avoid traveling to most of Mexico due to the risk of violent crime.
The agency has renewed a warning for Americans considering travel to Mexico, saying they should either not travel to, reconsider travel, or use increased caution in almost the entire country.
In the advisory, would-be travelers are warned they may not be able to seek help from the U.S. if something goes wrong.
“Violent crime — such as homicide, kidnapping, carjacking, and robbery — is widespread and common in Mexico. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico, as travel by U.S. government employees to certain areas is prohibited or restricted. In many states, local emergency services are limited outside the state capital or major cities,” the advisory reads.
In 30 of 32 Mexican states, there is some kind of travel advisory for U.S. citizens. Six of those states, including Sinaloa, the home of the massive drug cartel of the same name, have a Level 4 do not travel advisory issued.
Other states on the do-not-travel list include Colima, Guerrero, Michoacan, and Zacatecas. Tamaulipas, where unknown gunmen captured four Americans on Friday, also made the list.
The U.S. ambassador confirmed Monday that the violence included the killing of an innocent Mexican citizen.
The State Department attributes their do not travel advisories to the prevalence of crime and kidnapping.
Beyond the Matamoros kidnapping, one of the most startling examples of explosive violence broke out after Mexican officials captured El Chapo’s son and Sinaloa cartel leader Ovidio Guzman in January.
The aftermath turned the city of Culiacan into a war zone, with 30 people dead from firefights between the cartel and Mexican troops. Cartel fighters even shot at military aircraft in a failed effort to keep authorities from flying Guzman out of the state.
In their high-risk travel guide, the State Department offers advice for those going to do not travel countries, including preparing a will, developing a personal security plan and creating a plan with family members for a hostage negotiation.
Mike Chavarria, a retired special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration, said the country is particularly dangerous along the border. Though there are two states in Mexico classified as safe for travel, he advised people to avoid the country altogether.
“Go to the Caribbean,” he said.
NewsNation’s Steph Whiteside and the Associated Press contributed to this story.