Tijuana safety tips

picture-3This month, many government agencies and businesses in the Southern California area are educating people to “drop, cover and hold on” when they feel the first tremors of an earthquake. It’s all leading up to an earthquake preparedness drill on Nov 13 dubbed The Great Southern California Shakeout.

South of the border, where earthquakes are the least of the region’s concerns these days,  the Baja California State Preventive Police force is sharing some tips with residents in the event they get caught in the middle of a shooting.

It’s been a particularly violent October in the Tijuana/Rosarito Beach area with reportedly an unprecedented number of dumped bodies and shootings, and in a few cases  the attacks have claimed the lives of  innocent bystanders (a Zeta article profiles four of them). This, of course, isn’t scaring me from going there.  In fact, I feel safer traveling there now than I did when I wrote about the drug cartels as a reporter. Still,  it never hurts to be prepared – for an earthquake or a shootout. Here are some recommendations printed in Tijuana’s Frontera newspaper about what to do if you hear gunfire:

1) Keep at least 100 meters (330 feet) away from police operations and seek out alternative routes.

2) If you are in a car, “duck down, stay calm…and avoid escaping at a high speed,” presumably to prevent losing control of your own car.

3) If you are in the street, “throw yourself on the floor and hide behind trees, posts or cars.”

4) If you are inside a house, “hide behind furniture” and “stay away from the windows” (just like in an earthquake).


Screenshot from Frontera newspaper.

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2 responses to “Tijuana safety tips

  1. Nice to know that the local newspaper is giving out helpful advice. My interpretation of their wording (translated) seems to me to indicated that they are resigned to the fact that drug war violence will remain. I guess running editorials against drug cartels is too risky for the journalists, and I don’t blame them given the recent experiences in Cuidad Juarez.
    The U.S.-based non-profit with which I volunteer runs free medical clinics in Mexico. Several years ago we added Tijuana to our “missions.” We now run 4 such Tijuana clinics a year. Safety is always an issue but has become more acute in light of the recent drug violence. Interestingly, some of the volunteers who regularly fly (small planes) to and work in our other clinics in northern Sinaloa are scared of going to Tijuana due to the drug violence. Even I am bit apprehensive, especially since I must drive in Tijuana, but I like the “work” too much to not go. And my car is a beater car, so I don’t mind taking it across the border.

  2. Your work sounds really interesting, Dave. Thanks for sharing your experiences and thoughts on the topic. I go there knowing full well that there are risks but I also find it to be worthwhile.

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