Rosarito 2009 Crime Rate Falls 21% To A Baja California Best 5-Year Low

Published 04 March 10 12:26 PM

ROSARITO BEACH , BAJA CALIFORNIA , MEXICO ---For  2009 Rosarito had the largest year-to-year decline in crime of any city in Baja California --- 21 percent --- and was the only city to reach a five-year low, according to state figures.

“These are very encouraging figures for Rosarito, especially in difficult economic times, when crime historically increases,” said Mayor Hugo Torres.

Calling the fight against crime a lifelong challenge for any city, Torres, who ran in 2007 on a platform of public security, said strong efforts will continue this year to reduce crime.

Those efforts, he said, will include increased policing in certain areas, more emphasis on neighborhood watch and private security, plus sports and other programs to keep city youth from delinquency and drug use.

Baja Gov. Jose Guadalupe Osuna Millan told the San Diego Union that Rosarito’s reduction in crime was one of Baja California ’s success stories.

Overall, Baja California crime declined by an average of 10 percent in 2009 from 2008 and was lower than the level of the previous two years. The state’s rate was the same as 2006 and higher only than 2005.

Rosarito led all five Baja cities in major categories for 2009, recording a 24 percent year-to-year decline in robbery and burglaries, 38 percent in violent crimes and 56 percent in murders, from 61 to 27, according to the state figures.

Five of the killings were between members of rival drug cartels as the government makes it more difficult for them to operate, and three were of police officers.

Torres said that the drug-related killings are very troubling but even with them Rosarito has a lower homicide rate than many U.S. cities, including New Orleans, St. Louis and Baltimore, and Washington , D.C. (Based on FBI figures for 2008, the latest published)

“Understandably, much of the media coverage in the U.S. has focused on the crackdown on organized crime --- it’s a vital international issue,” he said. “But that has helped create a misleading impression about security here.”

Since taking office, Torres has led efforts to replace more than half of the city’s police force while expanding its size from about 150 to 230 officers.

He also established a special tourist police force that uses bilingual traffic tickets that can be mailed in from the U.S. , an ombudsman office and a city department for visitor assistance.

The mayor also brought in former Army Capt. Jorge Montero to lead the police department as director of public security.  He has praised his work as well as the support of the City Council.

Torres also cited federal and state support plus a close working relationship with the Rosarito office of the state attorney general, which is responsible for most reporting and investigation of crime.

“Prevention is the key to crime reduction,” said Torres, who added that the city’s focus would remain on public security.

Rosarito also is working on expanding positive activities including sports and drug prevention programs for youth. Torres has personally talked to more than 15,000 of the city’s 23,000 school children and plans to visit the remainder this year.

Many programs have been intiated to benefit city youth, including the start of construction last year on the city’s first Boys & Girls Club.

www.bajainvestment.com

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