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Rosarito Crime Declines 21% To Reach A Five-Year Low

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE January 4, 2010

Rosarito Crime Declines 21%

To Reach A Five-Year Low

ROSARITO BEACH, BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO---From January to November of 2009 Rosarito had the largest year-to-year decline in crime of any city in Baja California --- 21 percent --- to its lowest rate in five years, according to state figures.

 

The tourist and retirement destination 35 miles south of San Diego was the only one of Baja California’s five cities to achieve a five-year low. Baja Gov. Jose Guadalupe Osuna Millan has praised it as a success story,

 

Overall, Baja California crime declined by an average of 10 percent in 2009 from the same 11-month period in 2008 and was lower than the level of the previous two years.

 

“These are very encouraging figures for Rosarito, especially in difficult economic times, when crime historically increases,” said Mayor Hugo Torres, who ran in 2007 largely on a platform of improving public security and police reform.

 

Rosarito led all Baja cities in major categories for 2009, recording a 25 percent year-to-year decline in robbery and burglaries, 36 percent in violent crimes and 52 percent in murders, from 54 to 26, according to the January-November 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.

 

“Other people simply are not targets of the violence connected to the organized crime crackdown,” Torres said.

 

Torres added that the drug-related killings are very troubling but even with them Rosarito has a lower homicide rate than some U.S. cities, including New Orleans, and about the same as Washington, D.C.

 

“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 created a misleading impression about security here.”

 

“These latest crime figures show that for our typical resident and visitor, Rosarito is as safe or safer than ever. We hope these statistics will be well reported to convey a more realistic picture of life and safety 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 and establishing a special tourist police force which uses bilingual traffic tickets.

 

The mayor also brought in former Army Capt. Jorge Montero to lead the police department as director of public security.

Torres praised Montero’s work in improving police performance and reducing crime, as well as the support of the City Council. Montero was honored in a ceremony Saturday night as part of National Police Day.

 

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, including increased efforts in sections of the city where crimes were higher than the average.

 

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

Published Sunday, January 17, 2010 4:48 PM by Kanoa Biondolillo

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