Patrol car leads a Tamaulipas convoy. A patrol car leads a Tamaulipas convoy.

Police convoys see decline in numbers

Daily service has escorted 4,300 vehicles on dangerous highways

There appears to be renewed confidence among many drivers for traveling on Mexico’s northern highways, according to a Federal Police official in Ciudad Victoria, Tamaulipas.

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Jorge Rosas said fewer motorists are joining the daily convoys that travel between Victoria and municipalities near the U.S. border, a daily routine that has been in effect for the past four years.

As many as 100 vehicles in a day have taken advantage of the security measure, called Operation Safe Passage, intended to help travelers get to their destinations without fear of being robbed or assaulted.

To date, 4,300 vehicles have been escorted by police, without incident.

The convoys leave Ciudad Victoria at 7:00am after officers take down the names of the drivers before heading north to Reynosa and Matamoros. Meanwhile, another convoy leaves from the northern communities, their destination Victoria, at 9:00am.

A patrol car leads the parade of vehicles, and another usually takes up the rear.

But Rosas said the number of vehicles joining the convoy to go north has declined, which he attributes to people feeling more confident about traveling on the state’s highways. More drivers are venturing on their own: where 50-100 vehicles might have joined the convoy in the past, police are now seeing 20 or fewer, he said.

During the Christmas holiday season, the numbers in the convoys soar by as much as 50% as thousands of visitors from the U.S. head south to spend time with their families. The Tamaulipas state government estimates that 20,000 people will visit from the U.S. during the holiday period.

Police on both sides of the border also provide safety information to travelers.

Source: Hoy Tamaulipas (sp), InSight Crime/Animal Político (en)

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