Towards a new conception of the border
December 1, 2015 3:54 PM   Subscribe

Isn't Tijuana a pretty dangerous place to live? I was under the impression that it was one of the most dangerous cities in Mexico.
posted by Mitrovarr at 4:35 PM on December 1, 2015

Pre 9/11 sure. Maybe SENTRI takes enough randomness out of the border to make it work. But that is the whole problem with the border, it's so uncertain. If the border could be setup where you do X & Y & Z things (X/Y/Z being things like fingerprints, body scans, or whatever) then the agents have to be law let you in and can't delay you. The border would then become a known and not depend on whether an agent is having a good day or not.
posted by sety at 5:31 PM on December 1, 2015

Yeah super duper dangerous. A lot of the Mexican drug violence gets overblown a bit in the US media, but TJ is one of the places where people are found cut up and stuffed into blue barrels.

Also, my ex-wife's family is from Mexico, and going back and forth across the boarder is giant pain in the ass. If her parents went down to visit people in Ensenada, they would leave 4am on a Tuesday to come back to the US. Otherwise, it's hours of waiting to cross back.
posted by sideshow at 5:36 PM on December 1, 2015

I just have to say that Tijuana is not a dangerous place. I just spent Thanksgiving there and it wasn't a problem. I've been there countless times, and I've never felt unsafe. I feel more unsafe in certain neighborhoods on this side of the border than I do in Tijuana. It's not a dangerous place unless you're involved in the drug trade or maybe it's scary if you're driving and you don't know how to drive they way they do.
posted by finally at 5:54 PM on December 1, 2015 [6 favorites]

Yeah I'm with finally, I think the pearl clutching about visiting Mexico is really weird. I used to cross the border a lot during high school(pre-911) to play shows, hang out, etc, just using a high school ID. I went during thanksgiving last week and it felt just as safe as recent trips to big German cities. There was even a bit of Times Square cleanliness on Revolucion.

If anything SD developers should stay out to make way for developers in Mexico to gentrify their own cities. There is definitely an active independent culture ripe for investing in. I was at a vegan lunch stall, across from a mini-brewery, two coffee shops, a book store and some used records, only a 15 min walk from the border. I heard a conversation in spanish that ended with this english exchange: "There are so many posers!" "Well, more posers means more sales..."

All to say that TJ is probably fine on its own without SD developers jump-starting gentrification with condos and gastro-pubs. Let the city follow its own path.

Don't get me started on visiting North Park after not coming home for 3 years. What is this SEATTLE?!
posted by kittensofthenight at 6:34 PM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

TJ is like 80% SDSU students getting drunk on cheap tequila. It's only dangerous because of the stupid Americans.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:39 PM on December 1, 2015

Its anecdotal, but I even saw bike cops directing traffic, helping motorists navigate and deescalation/crisis-intervention techniques on homeless people while I was there this time. I know from personal experience that this is not how TJ cops would have behaved circa 2000.

I know there is a lot of violence in Mexico, and especially in border towns, and especially in TJ, but its a huge city and there are also my best friend's family, my dad's old secretary, a bunch of awesome goths and punks, school kids knecking in the park, chill bums, sexy bros...
posted by kittensofthenight at 6:39 PM on December 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

The bummer feels you got when the US and Cuba made up before you happened to vacate in Havana?

Meanwhile and generally, Pacific Baja is the California coastline 500 years ago, and all the way to Cabo. The eastern coast is where whales go to make baby whales.

Some say its a dangerous drive but what if--like all this Tijuana is a warzone intel, was old intel?

Please keep it entre nous and on the blue
posted by Fupped Duck at 6:50 PM on December 1, 2015

I was last in Tijuana just before the violence spiked up. I've been wanting to go back the last few years every time I see another article about exciting architecture and food there. It is a neat and vibrant city.
posted by Dip Flash at 7:28 PM on December 1, 2015

Technically, the frontier is not in Tijuana, but just in front of it.
posted by Aizkolari at 9:38 PM on December 1, 2015

Some statistics: Tijuana had 493 homicides in 2014, for a rate of 38 per 100,000 people. That's comparable to the cities in the US with the highest murder rates*, for example Detroit (43.5) and New Orleans (38.7). That may or may not be comforting, since those are still pretty high murder rates. But if someone mentions going to New Orleans on vacation you don't typically hear a response of "but aren't you worried about getting murdered?"

I should point out that those comparisons aren't exact, since different jurisdictions have different reporting methods (e.g. what counts as a murder) and it's dependent on a death being reported as a murder and not merely a disappearance or even going entirely unreported. But there would have to be drastic differences in reporting for the numbers not to be at least roughly comparable.

* St. Louis City's rate is 49.9, but it's an outlier because of the St. Louis City / St. Louis County divide.
posted by jedicus at 7:49 AM on December 2, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'm from Tijuana. My husband is American and I am not at all concerned to drag him into my parent's very low class neighborhood. Most of the violence happening in the city right now is cartel-related as there is a territory war going on. It's not SAFE in the same way my current city is and you do have to take precautions, but they are the exact same precautions I would take going into Chicago or New Orleans or any other large city.

I am concerned about this article, however. The reason the city is starting to resurface as a trendy city is all the Americans being scared off by the violence of the mid-00's. Since tourists were not coming in, Downtown died for a long time before the city decided to change their focus from drunk American college students to locals being tourists in their own city. There was a big push for supporting local business Downtown and it's coming alive again. I'm just not sure that the city is ready for American gentrification.

Tijuana receives lots of low-income immigrants, both people being deported into the city (a reduced number lately) and people from the rest of the country attracted by the factory work. These people need a place to live. Mr. Herzog is right in attracting attention to this right now, before the building actually begins. But something tells me that low-income affordability will take a second seat to attracting San Diegans.
posted by cobain_angel at 10:34 AM on December 2, 2015 [1 favorite]

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