SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — A human rights activist compared the ongoing bloodshed in Tijuana to that of war.
In a city of about 2.2 million people, 105 homicides are committed for every 100,000 residents, making Tijuana the world’s second deadliest city, according to World Atlas and the Citizens Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice.
The national average in Mexico is 27 per 100,000 citizens, and worldwide, the average is 0.5 homicides per 100,000 residents, the watchdog group Common Cause says.
“(Tijuana is) way above the normal, almost as if they were at war,” said Maria Elena Morera Mitre, a human rights activist and director of Common Cause in Mexico. “They are killing a resident every three hours. When we see these figures they seem cold, but when you think each case involves a person, and maybe they were involved in a crime, but they are human beings.”
Morera, who was in Tijuana on Thursday, added that for Tijuana residents, it’s become commonplace to see so much violence.
“Normalcy is living in peace, your children can go out into the streets, that if your wife goes off to work you know she’ll be back fine, that’s what normal is,” she said.
Morera went on to blame the constitutional lines that have been drawn in Mexico as a way to protect the public.
“The different levels of government don’t know how to divide the responsibilities among local, state and federal agencies,” she said. “It needs to be clear the governor is coordinating and is in charge, and if the National Guard is involved, it’s her responsibility to oversee the federal forces, which don’t know how to do police work.”
And Morera added that municipal police officers should be able to begin and conduct homicide investigations not just the state.
“The bad thing is there are only about 260,000 police officers in the country, but we only have 18,000 investigators. If we have to wait on them to start investigating, we are in trouble,” she said.
According to the World Atlas and the Citizens Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice, with a murder rate of 109 for every 100,000 residents, Celaya, in the Mexican state of Guanajuato, is the most violent city in the world, followed by Tijuana and Ciudad Juárez, across the border from El Paso, Texas.
Ensenada, Mexico, which is located about 65 miles south of Tijuana, ranks sixth on the list of “Most Dangerous Cities in the World.”
Seven of the top eight spots on its survey are cities in Mexico.