As mentioned above, to rebut some negative posts--and, more importantly, some misinformation/downright lies--I did some research on bar related shootings/deaths. (My undergraduate degree is in Political Science and if I cared to spend the time I could write a paper that would pass peer review.)
Over the past five year period included in my research project there were three times as many bar related deaths in San Diego as there were in Tijuana. (The major reason being weapons bans are strictly enforced in TJ, but don't exist in San Diego.)
Tijuana is safe. TJ's red light district is much safer than similar places in many/most major US cities. IMHO Tijuana is safer than places such as Los Angeles because of the lack of drive by shootings. (In the past five years I can name three incidents where bystanders were killed in TJ; you could name hundreds in LA.)
Tijuana is not Cuidad Juarez or other areas of Mexico mentioned in travel advisories. Tijuana is somewhat like Chicago was during prohibition. The violence is between drug dealers. More importantly, it is in the outer areas of the city, not in the downtown area, red light district, financial district, and other places tourists visit.
I think it is incorrect to state there have been recent protests in Tijuana. There have been several celebrations following the wins of the local soccer team. There was one protest march in the support of the former mayor, Jorge Hank Rhon. (Who was released following judicial determination there was insufficient evidence to charge him.) No one was hurt in the march; it was was completely peaceful.
As to where you can obtain information: Sandra Dribble covers Tijuana for the San Diego Union Tribune. I prefer to get my news "from the horse's mouth." Here are links to some Tijuana papers:
Hopefully you speak Spanish. If you don't it will be hard to get good information. Too much of what is reported in the US media comes from people who (1) have an agenda and (2) use second hand information because they don't speak Spanish and/or have direct access to first hand sources.
Over the years I've found the people who think Tijuana is dangerous are those who (1) don't speak Spanish and (2) spend very little time in TJ. I don't know how people expect to get good information (especially when they discount what ex-patriots living there say) when they don't speak the local language and don't have any first hand knowledge of the place.
What do you do to insure your safety? The same type of things you'd do anywhere in the world when you're in a bad neighborhood. For example:
1. Be aware of your surroundings.
2. Stay out of dark alleys, unlighted areas.
3. Don't stumble around the streets drunk.
4. Take a cab, especial back to the border when it's dark.
5. Don't flash cash or expensive watches and jewelry.
6. Look out for pickpockets. Especially when you're in a bar and a girl/tranny is sitting on your lap.
I've said many times, you're in more danger of tripping and falling in Tijuana than you are of being mugged. (There are lots more sidewalks in need of repair than there are muggers.) Others have agreed with me. (Especially a guy who had a nice buzz going and tripped on a sidewalk in need of repair as he left a bar.)
To repeat: It's safe to go to Tijuana. Tijuana's red light district is safer than "seedy" areas of many/most US cities.
Here's the "truth" from a reliable source.
1) All paranoid gringos will be kulled if they walk alone at night.
2) All paranoid gringos will die of food poisoning if they eat or drink anything in TJ.
3) All paranoid gringos will get ripped off by every single chica at any bar.
4) All paranoid gringos will get ripped off by every taxi driver in TJ.
5) All paranoid gringos that dont go to TJ will miss out on meeting some beautiful chicas, nice people and great food.
Have a wonderful time holed up in your safe and secure home wherever it may be. TJ doesnt need another primadona gringo acting like a fool.
To quote the great Sergeant Hulka "Lighten up, Francis"
Any information you find is going to be skewed to some degree. The Mexican tourist boards are going to talk about how safe Tijuana and Baja California is in order to draw tourism. Residents from there will tell you it's safe in order to make their decision to live there make sense.
People have commented that much of the violence is between drug dealers, which may be true, but these guys don't exactly stop shooting just because civilians are there. Restaurants get shot up, whole families get murdered because they "thought" it was someone else (Rosarito). The chances of you getting kidnapped and ransomed as a tourist are low, but I hope you don't drive a similar car or look like someone who someone wanted to kill. About 3 months ago they found a dead American right outside the Pueblo Amigo hotel. Just dead right there in the street. Someone was sitting in their car at the border in broad daylight waiting in line and people came up and shot the car up.
Less than 6% of all crimes in Tijuana make it to court. Less than 1% of all murders involve a suspect being formally charged.
Is Tijuana safer than Beirut? Probably. But just remember it is in a 3rd world country. Murders happen in every city, but in Tijuana, they happen in broad daylight in front of everyone. Remember the rehab clinic that was shot up and people were executed last year? Nurses, clerks, patients, dead. Those weren't drug dealers. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time.
Look at the situation and decide for yourself why you'll be in Tijuana and what your goal is. If you're there for business or something important, then go. If you just want a hooker, look elsewhere. Any information you find will have a certain slant to it. As far as Burt's info, I'm sure he's an expert on the local Tijuana hooker/bar scene, but he's showed time again that his knowledge stops there. Afterall, his info comes from wikipedia pages and mistaken rumor - not anything solid. This is the same guy who said that Seiko was made in Switzerland.
Posted By: HalfHour I'm wondering who to believe about safety issues in Tijuana. There are increasing travel warnings more specifically to other cities. But recently I saw one article mentioning Tijuana.
There have been recent protests, I think, too. right?
I'm not discounting what opinions are posted here. If I was I wouldn't bother asking this question. I also know there is fear-mongering in the U.S. news on all sorts of things.
I guess what I'm asking is, aside from the basic reassurrances, where can I get good and more detailed info?
if you stay in the tourist areas , you shouldnt have a problem. get a nice hotel in tj. take a cab to and from the zona. use escort services. thats it.thats all i do. im not out in the woods looking at nature. i find it hard to believe that you will get kidnapped in front of hong kong or hotel ticuan. dont drink or do drugs.