Students Warned About Mexican Violence

Spring break shenanigans in Tijuana, Mexico CBS

Spring Break is approaching for college students, but those pondering traveling to Mexico for the vacation are being told to think twice.

In years past, reports CBS News correspondent Bill Whitaker, the break has been filled with sounds of revelry in Mexico's border towns.

But now, a very different sound is echoing through those city streets: the sound of gunfire, with Mexico's five major drug cartels at war.

"I think half of my friends aren't going," one student told Whitaker, "because they say they're scared; they don't want to get killed."

"Students' health and safety is a top priority for us," says the University of Arizona'a Karen Moses, "and so, we always are encouraging them to take steps to insure their personal safety, no matter where they are."

The State Department says that, during a typical Spring Break, over 100,000 American teenagers and young adults travel to Mexico's resort areas.

But, Whitaker points out, things may be different this year.

"I don't think it's safe," one University of Arizona student in Phoenix remarked. "It's just not something I wanna do."

The University of Arizona has issued a warning: "Increased levels of violence make it imperative that travelers understand the risks of travel to Mexico."

"It's really scary. My parents don't want me to go," one student says.

"But I already paid, so I'm going," said another.

The State Department has also issued a warning, saying, "U.S. citizens are urged to be alert to safety and security concerns when visiting the border region. Criminals are armed with a wide array of sophisticated weapons."

"Anybody traveling in Mexico needs to use as much common sense as they can bring to the table," observes Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard.

As Whitaker put it, "Spring Break in Mexico used to be a rite of passage for college students. But now that rite -- might be the wrong choice.
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