Members of a newly created and specially trained federal police force began arriving in Tijuana last week to help local officers combat a growing wave of violent crime.
According to press reports, about 100 members of the Gendarmería Nacional arrived in Tijuana on Thursday, September 4, the second contingent to be dispatched to the city; on September 1, 300 members of the elite federal police force arrived.
The Gendarmería Nacional, a 5000-officer division of the federal police, was approved by the Mexican congress in 2013 and officially activated by president Enrique Peña Nieto on August 25. Its function is to assist hard-pressed local police in combating crime in particularly lawless areas or locations considered to be of strategic importance, such as airports, international borders, and harbors.
Baja California was one of five states to which members of the Gendarmería Nacional were sent last week. The other states were Chiapas, Guanajuato, Jalisco, and Tamaulipas.
The arrival of federal police coincides with an increasing level of violence on the streets of Tijuana, which, in the past two weeks, has claimed the life of a municipal policeman and a state police investigator.
According to the daily newspaper El Sol de Tijuana, there have been more than 350 murders in the city since January 1.
On September 4, Alejandro Lares Valladares, Tijuana's head of public safety, announced that municipal officers will be assisted by the Mexican military in an effort to bring violent crime under control.
Elements of the Gendarmería Nacional are expected to be of particular value in the poorly policed far eastern neighborhoods of the city, according to press reports.