The U.S. Department of State has issued a Travel Alert for citizens in the border cities of Mexico.

The February 20 alert cites a series of violent conflicts along the U.S – Mexico border, mainly fueled by drug cartels, as a reason for Americans to take extra safety precautions in the coming months. Foreign bystanders have been killed, injured, and kidnapped in recent incidents and many of the cases remain unsolved.

Here are some safety tips featured in the Travel Alert:

  • In case of emergency, always know the location and contact information of the American embassy or the nearest consulate
  • Travel only in legitimate business and tourist areas
  • Travel only during daylight hours
  • Leave an itinerary with a friend or family member
  • Confirm that your cell phone is capable of roaming on a GSM or 3G international network
  • Do not wear flashy jewelry or display large amounts of money
  • Monitor local media sources
  • Avoid gathering around large demonstrations