On February 27, residents of Valle de las Palmas warned Tijuana mayor Carlos Bustamante that, if necessary, they would take vigilante action to put a stop to crime if municipal police didn’t come to their aid.
If the city cannot provide the necessary police, a letter to the mayor said, citizens would resort to vigilante action, including “linchamiento” (lynching) of the perpetrators, some of whom have been identified as repeat offenders who habitually commit criminal acts against residents.
On February 29, police arrested five suspects who may have contributed to an upsurge in violent assaults, home-invasion robberies, vandalism, and burglaries in the town southeast of Tijuana.
According to a mayoral news release (which followed the warning letter from residents), Valle de las Palmas can look forward to the establishment of a police substation in the neighborhood; however, there was no indication of when it would be built.
Admittedly, read the release, the city has not been able to expand police protection to the degree that is necessary due to budgetary constraints, rapid growth of the city environs, and a lack of trained police-academy graduates.
Recently, reports in the local media have mentioned the problems Rosarito has had in hiring and retaining police officers, due largely to bigger cities such as Tijuana and Mexicali offering academy graduates better pay and perks.
Lynching is no idle threat in Mexico. Two weeks ago, outside Mexico City, a mob of irate citizens captured and lynched three suspected kidnappers before setting their bodies on fire.