Oct 27, 2006, 12:57 PM
Post #15 of 41
I live in San Diego and kidnappings in Tijuana are not uncommon. They have been well documented on both sides of the border. Up until recently the kidnappings were confined to Mexicans kidnapping other Mexicans and leaving non-Mexicans alone. All that has changed in the last 6 months. The top guy for 2 different maquiladoras were kidnapped, both were Asian, if I recall correctly. One incident had a happy ending; the guy escaped. The other incident, unforutnately, had a tragic ending. Extortion was the objective in both cases. It is not just wealthy Mexicans that have been the target of Tijuana kidnappings. Middle class families have also been victimized. It seems that if there is perception that a family has money, anywhere within the family structure, that they become a potential target. A large percentage of kidnappings in Tijuana go unreported for fear that corrupt cops are in on the kidnap scheme and the overriding desire to have family members returned in tact and alive. And many kidnappings do end with the kidnapped person being returned alive after a ransom is paid. There is growing concern on both sides of the border, however, that non-Mexicans are now being targeted and no one wants to see that trend expand.
So between the kidnappings, beheadings by the drug cartel(s) and corrupt criminal justice system, Tijuana has not been unaffected, finanically or emotionally. Hank Rohn - a VERY wealthy man - the mayor of Tijuana made an unprecdented visit to SANDAG (a regional economic development agency that works linking both SD and TJ) to reassure local businesses on both sides of the border that Tijuana was still a safe place to do business and visit. To his credit, Mayor Rohn (and I'm not sure I'm spelling that correctly) has made efforts to improve the seriously decrepid Tijuana infastructure and has taken about as hard a line with the local police force as any mayor has. As much as 60% of the local police force has been arrested or fired in the last few months in an effort to curb corruption and lawlessness. Additionally, he has requested and received federale and military reinforcements from Mexico City.
Tijuana/San Diego is still the worlds busiest border crossing with 60 million people a year. And some ungodly number of annual visitors to San Diego seem to think a quick trip to TJ is a must. The vast majority of these people are not kidnapped, they are not beheaded or otherwise murdered, nor are they the victim of a crime. Aside from the 3 American female tourists who were raped by corrupt cops a couple of years ago (a really repugnant crime, BTW, if ever there was one) the worst a tourist can expect in Tijuana is a shake down on questionable traffic violations. The border has always been a violent place because of the stakes involved in crossing (and not the legal kind). Between the often questionable direction the U.S. government may choose to go in and the economic desparation many Mexicans feel, it is not particularly likely the violence will diminish.
FWIW, I've been to Michoacan 3 times in the last 16 months. I haven't been to Tijuana, or even through it, for at least the last 4 years. Correct or not, my own perception is that I feel safer in Michoacan than I do in Tijuana.