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Tijuana hit the world stage in the last 24 hours with news that its 2,300-member police force was being temporarily disarmed so authorities could do ballistic tests of their weapons. Federal authorities are hoping to gain some control of the Tijuana-to-California drug trafficking corridor.
The New York Times has a tongue-in-cheek analysis of the news in its blog, The Lede.
Headline: Tijuana Streets Are Too Dangerous, So Police Are Disarmed.
Blogger Tom Zeller Jr. turns to today’s Los Angeles Times report, which says:
Tijuana Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon acknowledged in a radio interview Thursday that local and state police were being compromised by narco-traffickers, and he said government salaries could not compete with the financial rewards offered by drug dealers.
Members of the 2,300-strong police force turned over more than 2,100 guns and semiautomatic assault rifles at police headquarters. But police officials decided it would be too dangerous to patrol unarmed, especially because more than a dozen officers have been killed recently in drug-related attacks.
“The police are not patrolling the city. They won’t work without their weapons,” said Fernando Bojorquez, a spokesman for the city’s top police official, Secretary of Public Safety Luis Javier Algorri Franco.
Mayor Hank, you may remember, came to San Diego in mid-October to invite tourists back to his city. That was after dozens of killings had scared off even some local government officials from trekking into the Baja California city for meetings. Hank proclaimed his city was “as safe as San Diego.”