Over 50 years of corruption, uncontrolled construction and an absence of any kind of urban planning has transformed Acapulco into a chaotic metropolis. All photos courtesy of Jan-Albert Hootsen.
Over the last decade, Acapulco has descended from a resort oasis for tourists to Mexico's new murder capital.
As of this week, at least 3,800 businesses in the city remained closed, according to the Los Angeles Times, as the country rebounded from an attack on its police.
The city's streets are the front-lines in a turf war for drug cartels where gun battles have only intensified since the death of drug lord Arturo Beltran Leyva in 2009.
This descent into chaos hasn't happened over night but the headlines coming out of Acapulco as of late arouse a real sense that the city has become gripped by uncharted levels of fear and violence.
How bad is it now? Consider the headlines of incidents that have transpired over the last three months:
- This week - armed men launched multiple assaults on police at the federal police headquarters and a hotel where many federal agents were staying.
- Earlier this month, the U.S. government barred its employees from traveling to Acapulco all together under new guidelines by the State Department. Before, government employees were allowed to go to Acapulco as long as they traveled by air and not by land.
- On Good Friday, two dismembered bodies of two men were discovered in plastic bags.
- In March, four people were murdered on beaches by assassins traveling on Jet Skis.
- In February, a saleswoman was shot dead in broad daylight on a beach.
The events have highlighted a murder rate that is the highest in Mexico. Over 903 people were murdered in 2015 in Acapulco, a city of more than 700,000 people. The first two months of 2016 has seen the murder rate rise from 95 killings last year to 139 killings in January and February of this year.
The governor of Guerrero state, home to Acapulco, called for calm and said "we have the situation under control."
The state prosecutor's office is calling on residents to "go about their daily activities."
Unfortunately, the bad headlines continue to come out of Acapulco – keeping tourists away, business stalled and a city wondering whether it will ever recover from a long slide into chaos.