Police in the Mexican Caribbean resort city of Cancun are stepping up security in preparation for the arrival of thousands of spring breakers from the United States, city officials told Efe.

"Operation Spring Breakers 2013" calls for the deployment of 138 Tourism Police officers from the city of Benito Juárez, where Cancun is located, more than 100 federal law enforcement agents, 86 marines and 80 army troops to maintain order.

"The federal forces are there for support" and will help patrol the hotel zone, nightclubs and shopping centers, "especially at night," the city officials said.

The security operation will last until April 15 in Cancun, where at least 60,000 college students from the United States and Canada are expected to arrive over the next few weeks to enjoy their spring breaks from school.

Military personnel and police have worked together to provide security in Cancun, which is in Quintana Roo state, since 2007 amid a wave of drug-related violence in the region.

The operation is being launched as a preventive measure in light of the recent killings and rapes of tourists in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco and attacks on visitors in Playa del Carmen, another popular tourist destination in Quintana Roo state.

Tourism is the engine of the economy in Quintana Roo, which accounts for about half of Mexico's tourism revenues.

Last year, Quintana Roo tourism officials launched a campaign to try to get more Europeans to visit the islands of Mujeres, Holbox, Cozumel and Contoy, destinations that are not as well known as the Riviera Maya and Cancun.

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