TIJUANA (Border Report) — In the city of Tijuana, it is not unusual to see 10 murders take place in one day, and residents have learned to live with police sirens and crime-scene tape.
Over the last three years, the city has averaged more than 2,000 homicides per year. And according to Baja California Attorney General statistics, robberies and assaults are up as well.
One recent poll showed more than 90 percent of residents don’t feel safe walking the streets or being in their neighborhoods.
Another poll just released by Mexico’s National Institute of Statistics and Geography, however, puts the number of residents who don’t feel safe 76 percent, but it notes that more than half of the city’s population has been a victim of police corruption and/or intimidation.
“At this point in time you don’t feel totally safe,” Tijuana resident Alberto said in Spanish.
He did say he welcomes into Tijuana the arrival of 2,000 National Guard troops who are supposed to patrol high-crime areas, public venues and even some stretches along the border. The city’s mayor had asked for the help.
“I see them when I walk and I say how nice it is to have someone looking out for me,” another resident, Maria, said in Spanish.
Others, who spoke with Border Report said they too are happy to see the soldiers and their vehicles patrolling day and night.
“I hope it works because local policing is not working, maybe with the national guard we’ll feel safer,” Ernesto said in Spanish.
Montserrat Caballero Ramírez, Tijuana’s mayor, said that from her perspective, residents are more fearful than ever before and it’s become their top concern above the city’s crumbling infrastructure and public health.
During her campaign last year, she promised to make public safety her number one priority.
“We are telling those who are worried that we’re with them and with the arrival of these troops we’re going to coordinate our security efforts with local police. We’re grateful to the National Guard for being here,” she said.
And according to Caballero Ramírez, she and Baja California’s governor are requesting even more guardsmen be sent to the area.
“We’re expecting around 2,000, not sure how many have arrived already, but with the numbers we already had, it puts us at nearly 3,000, but our goal remains 5,000,” she said.