Mexico's surge in violence keeps some city streets deserted as tourists warned against travel

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Monday, August 15, 2022
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Some normally busy areas of Mexican cities are eerily quiet as people shelter indoors amid a surge in gang violence.

The U.S. Consulate is warning Americans against travel in certain parts of Mexico including Baja California amid a surge in drug cartel violence.

At least 11 people have been killed, stores have been set on fire, and cars and buses have been hijacked.

Some cities, like Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez, are faced with nearly deserted streets as residents are afraid to move around.

"If you have no business coming down in Tijuana please stay at home," said Roger Blacksmith of Tijuana. "I mean there's a big concern for public safety because we don't really know what's going to happen next."

Authorities in the western Mexican state of Michoacán arrested 167 alleged members of a criminal drug gang. Hundreds of weapons were seized.

Criminals have set up roadblocks.

RELATED: Tijuana hit by gang violence that included vehicles being set ablaze and road blockades

It was the third time this week Mexican cities have seen widespread arson and shootings by drug cartels. The gangs appear to also be targeting innocent bystanders.

"It's terrifying," said Paulina Gómez-Wulschner, a journalist in Mexico. "People don't even want to leave their homes. They kind of decided to stay home during this weekend because of the threat of cartel gangs."

Some of the worst violence is in Ciudad Juarez across the border from El Paso. Officials say gang members killed nine people, including four employees of a radio station.

Roberto Fierro, the prosecutor from the state of Chihuahua, said "Authorities are working to recover all the space that belongs to us and that organized crime is trying to take away. We will not rest until we re-establish order and we will use all the necessary resources to achieve it."

Officials say the area around Tijuana is one of the biggest drug corridors. It's also become a battleground between various drug gangs.

The effects of the travel warnings are showing.

"Yesterday they implemented the curfew and if you look at the border, the busiest border in the whole world, there is so little going on," said Franco Hogan, a San Diego resident.