“Tijuana is just as safe an any other city,” observes La Roca Christian Church“. “Our mission headquarters are based in Playas Tijuana,” Carlos continues, “and here we house visiting guest and missionaries for several days to a week. Our church sends people all over the city of to bring help and hope to those who need it.” Asked if he felt it was all right to encourage people to come to Tijuana at these times of reported gang violence, Carlos replied: “I feel safe here. and I feel that my family is safe here. People don’t hesitate to travel to Israel, where there are car bombings and missiles flying across the border into their country!”, Pastor of the
Carlos Montoya’s church has branches all over the city of Tijuana, including some of the city’s roughest neighborhoods. In the, Tijuana’s notorious “ ,” Carlos’ Mission runs a small church, a men’s recovery center, housing about 40 homeless men and boys, and a men’s recovery center ranch. In Colonia Hidalgo, in downtown Tijuana, near where the huge Mexican flag can be seen, the church manages a women’s home.
Church members make regular trips to Tijuana’s two major city dumps, where many people live in shacks surrounded by garbage, discarded tires, and mud. Also scattered throughout the city of Tijuana are mini-missions, operating out of private homes. Carlos and his church missionaries know the city well. Still, members don’t hesitate to spend time in these areas, fixing roofs, distributing food, medicine, clothing, and helping however they can.
“It is a shame that so many people are afraid to come here and do the work that is needed to be done,” Carlos lamented. He added: “One church up inactually declared that they would not be sending people to Tijuana again! This does not send out the right message.”
Indeed, the news media has generated so many crime stories that people are afraid to come Tijuana. Some argue that, while the news is reporting on Tijuana crime, they should also list crime statics for other cities that American travels may wish to visit, including Los Angeles and New York. One stations in San Diego claims they deliver “balanced news.” Reporting on other cities’ crime, such as Los Angeles, which is close it San Diego, would be “balanced news.” Whatever the case, the media crime blitz has scared many so badly that they no longer will come to Tijuana to help with their churches or charities. This situation has gotten so bad that even the animal rescue efforts in Baja have been affected. Pastor Carlos Montoya believes that people should overcome these fears and that most Tijuana neighborhoods, even some of the roughest ones, are basically quiet most of the time.
Many full time American Baja resident agree. One American lady claimed that her permanant home, San Bernadino, was far worse. Americans, already in Baja, are for the most part, staying put. according to most, the crime situation from their home cities in the US was one reason they moved to Baja in the first place.
People who have stopped coming to Baja to help their churches and charities because of these “Crime fears” are encouraged to rethink their positions on this topic. Their help is still daily needed..
Pastor Carlos Montoya stated: “Fear immobilizes; fear overrides our good sense of convictions.”
“We’ve been coming with groups with around 15 to 25 people every year for the last 7 years to Tijuana from a church here in the San Francisco Bay Area. We’ve never felt threatened while on these trips or even the slightest bit of hesitance to come down to Tijuana because of news of crime. is like any large city – things happen, so we take the normal prudent precautions with groups; those would be the same whether we were going to Tijuana or San Francisco . In fact, I find the people friendlier and open in Tijuana than I do in the Bay Area cities where I worked for the past 30 years.” … Bob
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