TIJUANA, MEXICO – Following on the success of the dramatically improved crime rates and security in Tijuana, the Mexican business community held a public forum today to highlight the role of the private sector in curbing security threats in cities throughout Mexico and develop future strategies to restore public security.
The event, titled, “Mexico: The Role of the Private Sector in Citizen Security – The Tijuana Case” was organized by the Tijuana chapter of the Employers Federation of the Mexican Republic (COPARMEX) and the Washington DC-based Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE).
“The important role that the business community played in addressing security issues in Tijuana has been, until now, an untold story,” John D. Sullivan, CIPE’s Executive Director, said today. “It is important to look at the ways that the private sector contributed to improved security in Tijuana. Lessons learned from those initiatives will help communities address the security challenges that continue to afflict many cities in Mexico.”
In the early 2000s, confronted with rising crime rates, business organizations in Baja California joined with civil society groups to demand government action, greater accountability among the state police force, and the recovery of crime-ridden territories.
In all, the homicide rate in Tijuana dropped dramatically from 2007 to 2013. From 2007 to 2010 the city suffered over a 1,000 killings per year. In 2013, that rate had dropped to nearly half this number.
In comparison, there has been an increase in armed robberies in Monterrey and overall crime has increased in Guadalajara. Also, the beach town of Rosarito, located just 10 miles from Tijuana, had its homicide rate go up. The same is true for Tecate, another town close to Tijuana.
What is clear is that the civil society effort in Tijuana has reduced crime dramatically since the security initiatives began.
“The reforms undertaken by the government and supported by the private sector and civil society were key to reducing crime in Tijuana,” Gustavo Fernández de León, President for COPARMEX Tijuana, said today. “It is important that reforms to address insecurity continue. This forum is an important part of that effort.”
Today’s public forum will help government officials, business organizations, and citizen groups gain a better understanding of past efforts to curb public insecurity and will encourage discussion of future initiatives to address continuing security challenges.
Following today’s event, COPARMEX will develop a proposal of citizen action to continue restoring public security in Baja California.
The Employers Federation of the Mexican Republic (COPARMEX) is Mexico’s peak business association. It is a non-partisan organization that defends the legitimate interests of private enterprise and its work is based on the principles and ethics aimed at achieving common good. COPARMEX has been in existence for over 80 years and comprises 36,000 members of all sizes and sectors. www.coparmex.org.mx
The Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) is a Washington DC-based non-profit organization that strengthens democracy around the globe through private enterprise and market-oriented reform. CIPE is one of the four core institutes of the National Endowment for Democracy and a non-profit affiliate of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. www.cipe.org