The mayor of Tijuana (Mexico), Montserrat Caballero, said on Monday that she will temporarily live in the 28th Infantry Battalion military barracks, located south of the city, after having received threats. The local leader has linked such intimidation to “the overwhelming results” of the public safety work carried out during her administration, such as the seizures of weapons and arrests related to organized crime. “Why do I get threats? Because we deliver results,” she said at a press conference.
Tijuana is one of Mexico’s violence hot spots. A border city, it is one of the main drug trafficking routes. It is, therefore, one of the most coveted places for organized crime, and has seen bloody turf wars. In recent years, there has been an increase in both violence and seizures of the new drug dominating the landscape, fentanyl. Tijuana is the third largest seizure point, according to data from the Mexican Navy.
“Our police have seized more weapons nationwide, more perpetrators of violence, not to mention the thousands of detainees we have. Because of all this, I suffered an attack that did not become serious.” The mayor made the decision following recommendations from the National Guard: “In practical terms, it was not a decision, because not everyone can go to live in the barracks. It was a suggestion by the National Guard, for my safety. I hope it is temporary.”
On May 17, one of her bodyguards was shot at while traveling alone in a vehicle. He did not sustain any serious injuries, only minor ones from the shattered glass. The Baja California District Attorney’s Office is continuing its investigation into the case.
The local leader of this border city has stated that the situation she finds herself in is unusual. “[Receiving this type of intimidation] is not normal, it shouldn’t be. However, [the decision to move to a barracks] is not to protection a citizen, but to protect the citizen who has seized the most weapons in three administrations,” she reiterated. Caballero described the decision as “a sacrifice.” “I have a son, a family, and a commitment to my city.”
She has defended that, between October and May, her administration secured more than 1,721 weapons, 16,495 cartridges and 1,450 magazines. In addition, it has reckoned with 785 violent offenders, 56 of whom are nationally significant and have been handed over to the authorities. The mayor did not offer comparisons in this regard, but she did state that other crimes have been reduced compared to the previous year, such as business robberies (down 30.86%), robberies with violence (down 17.92%), and vehicle thefts (down 7.5%).
The city of Tijuana is the fifth most violent in the world, according to the civic group Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice. The latest data from the Secretariat of Public Safety indicates that, between January and April this year, 598 murders were committed, a lower figure than in 2019 (637 murders), the year in which Caballero came to power. The latest figures point to a total of 15,038 crimes, a figure that in this case is higher than in 2019, when it was 13,342.
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