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Rosarito Mayor outlines Security Gains and Receives Award

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Rosarito Mayor Outlines Security Gains and Receives award



Below is a release on a speech made last Saturday to the
United Society of Baja California by Rosarito Mayor Hugo
Torres. Photos of USBC President Anne Hines presenting
a plaque to Mayor Torres and the Mayor with the plaque
also are attached.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE DECEMBER 8, 2008

Rosarito Mayor Outlines Security Gains,
Receives Award From Expat Organization

ROSARITO BEACH, BAJA CALIFORNIA, MEXICO---City Mayor Hugo Torres on Saturday told the city’s largest expatriate group of gains made in public safety during his first year in office and was presented an award for his work.All,

“Our main proposal has been to fix up the security,” Mr. Torres told about 150 people gathered for the monthly meeting of the United Society of Baja California at the Rosarito Beach Hotel.
Mr. Torres was presented a plaque by USBC President Anne Hines which read in part: “In recognition of support, friendship and commitment in making Rosarito a better city for everyone.”
The USBC president said members of the group were deeply appreciative of the personal dedication and gains Mayor Torres has brought for all city residents.
The mayor thanked group members for the plaque and “for being here in Rosarito, making this your home and all your support.” About 10 percent of Rosarito’s estimated 140,000 residents are expatriates, most from the U.S.
This was the second time that Mr. Torres talked to the group since taking office on a reformist platform for a three-year term in December of 2007.
Noting that “the problem with security was a little bit bigger than we thought,” the mayor said that nonetheless substantial gains had been made, especially in improving the city’s police force.
Initially, Mayor Torres said, the main concern of his administration had been with some corrupt officers extorting money from visiting motorists.
But after a December 2007 attempt on the life of the new Police Chief Jorge Montero, in which about a dozen police officers were suspects, he realized the problem was deeper and quickly took strong action.
He sent all the department’s 149 officers for extensive ethics testing, including polygraph exams. Eventually about 60 percent of the department officers were replaced, while the size of the force was increased to almost 200, with plans to expand to 300.
With the changes --- which include bringing in many former military as police officers ---- a solid, dependable police department has been created and the problem of police soliciting bribes has become almost non-existent, Mayor Torres said.
“Much of the work has been done,” he said.
An additional 40 million pesos has been budgeted for police services and additional weapons and safety equipment is expected. The city also has established a tourist police force, a 24-hour-a-day ombudsman’s office and a citizen’s watch group of almost 400.
Mayor Torres said that the challenge of public safety would have been largely solved if not for war that broke out between rival factions of the Arrelano cartel several months ago in northern Baja, as federal, state and city officials crack down on organized crime.
More than 30 people, mainly cartel members, have been killed in Rosarito in recent months, because of the rivalry.
“It has been very difficult to stop the killings; we don’t have a list of who’s in the gangs,” Mayor Torres said. “But in Rosarito, I don’t expect these killings in Rosarito to go on much longer.”
In part because the U.S. media has covered primarily crime problems in the area, sometimes sensationalizing them, tourism and real estate sales have fallen off dramatically in Rosarito, creating economic difficulties, Mayor Torres said.
Part of the challenge in coming months will be to inform people in the U.S, of progress made and that the violence affects almost exclusively criminal elements. The information must be conveyed accurately.
“We will never go the U.S. and tell a lie,” he said.
In other gains, the city has been selected as the site for a new Tijuana Convention Center in Rosarito and plans are progressing to complete paving of all city streets, including outlying areas, Mayor Torres said.
Progress also is being made to bring more jobs to city by creating an industrial park and attracting environmentally sound manufacturing businesses, he said.

MEDIA CONTACT: Ron Raposa
619-948-3740
ronraposa@hotmail.com


Published Tuesday, December 09, 2008 4:42 PM by Zinnia Q.

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