Officials investigate a mass grave in El Comitán in 2015. Officials investigate a mass grave in El Comitán in 2015.

Neighbors implement own security plan

Robberies reduced by surveillance program in El Comitán, BCS

Citizens of a community in Baja California Sur have banded together much like the self-defense groups of Michoacán, but without taking up arms.


What the two do have in common is a desire to contain drug gang violence where authorities have failed to do so themselves.

Mexicans and expats in the La Paz community of El Comitán have implemented a grassroots security operation that has reduced the incidence of robberies to zero in just two weeks.

El Comitán was previously seeing up to 14 residential robberies a month. The foreign community alone reported 10 such incidents last year, reported the newspaper BCS Noticias.

But a robbery on February 20, in which shots were fired, was the last recorded.

The Comitán Seguro (Safe Comitán) program was implemented on February 21 with the active participation of all the residents of El Comitán, Deputy Camilo Torres Mejía told the state Congress in a report on the initiative.

“The neighbors set up surveillance stations in strategic locations of the community . . . making it easy to patrol and maintain vigilance over the most conflictive areas,” Torres said.


The people of El Comitán coordinate with the police department of the neighboring community of El Centenario, whose officers can offer a response time of less than five minutes.

“This neighborhood vigilance has inhibited malicious individuals from entering the neighborhood because they know they are being constantly watched,” Torres said.

Citizens of the region have asked the local authorities to extend the program to El Centenario and aid in its implementation.

“We know that the problem there is different, as there are many access points . . . but we need the collaboration of the authorities if the neighbors are to participate in a productive and constructive manner,” said a representative of Comitán Seguro.

Source: BCS Noticias (sp)

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  • Michael C

    An observant and alert community is going to be a safer one…..a la Neighborhood Watch in USA.

  • Commander Barkfeather

    An idea that needs to spread!

    • SickofLiberalbs9999

      Yes, but it’s the failure of the Mexican state to protect its citizens that creates this need.
      Citizens of countries with effective governments and security don’t need local militias for protection.

      Who can be optimistic when objectively examing the current state of security in Mexico?
      The trends are so discouraging – it really appears hopeless at this point.

      • Commander Barkfeather

        Police forces in the States are not capable of handling crime on their own, how much less so are Mexican police forces? Neighbors organized and looking out for one another, that is the basis for community and it is never too late to start. Also, regardless of the uprightness of Mexican police forces, or lack thereof, deserved or not, these forces must be awarded the benefit of the doubt to operate efficiently. If you cannot respect the man, respect the badge.

        • SickofLiberalbs9999

          “How much less so are Mexican police forces”?
          Good question – ABOUT A HUNDRED TIMES.

          For the vast majority of Mexican citizens, the police are not a factor in their daily fears of robbery, kidknapping, or assault. The police don’t protect anyone, nor are they expected to.
          And after crimes are commited in Mexico – citizens expect ZERO chance of justice.

          Don’t try to claim that America is the same – IT IS NOT EVEN CLOSE.

  • SickofLiberalbs9999

    Mexico in ten years:
    Only the large cities will be “defended” by the government and police.
    Large cities will be “fortresses” with heavy military and federal police presence on the streets.
    Millions of Mexicans will be forced move to the large cities for “protection”.

    Outside of the large cities will be an ungoverned, Mad Max environment – bad guys will victimize anyone they want.
    Outside of the large cities, weapons and arms will be a necessity – to defend yourself and your family.
    Rural residents will be forced to create local armed groups for self-defense against the criminals.
    Does this start to sound like the Middle East? Unfortunately, yes.

    Look for Mexico to descend into rural anarchy and chaos, a limited number of city fortresses, and a failed state.
    Outside of the fortress cities Mexico will resemble Libya, Somalia, etc.- a no go, war zone of death and destruction.

    And Mexicans will be asking themselves, “what happened to our wonderful country?”
    Mexicans and their government must take their country back now, or lose it to cartels, criminals, and anarchy forever.

    • Commander Barkfeather

      Please do us all a favor and watch “The Sound Of Music” tonight.

      • SickofLiberalbs9999

        check back with me in ten years, let’s see who was closest to understanding future reality in Mexico

  • Doral Hemm

    This story is partly passed on truth, but even that part is exaggerated. El Comitan is not the crime capital of BCS, as the writer would seem to imply. I’m a full time resident of El Comitan, since 2012. There is an active Neighbourhood Watch Program. I’m sure that the members are very dedicated to what they are doing and are doing a good job. Nearly all of the break-ins have been in homes that are unoccupied for several months at a time. A few occupied homes have been entered, probably by mistake because the thieves thought there was nobody there.. But there have never been 14 break-ins in a month in El Comitan.

    The shooting in February had nothing to do with a break-in, and it was not in El Comitan. There has never been a shooting in El Comitan.I’ve asked long time residents and the only violence connected with a break-in in El Comitan was about 10 or 12 years ago when one or more people were tied up, but not otherwise harmed.

    The local police from nearby Centenario regularly patrol the streets. Considering that there are so few occupied homes in El Comitan, it is my opinion that we get better than average police coverage.

    • SickofLiberalbs9999

      “The local police from nearby Centenario regularly patrol the streets.
      So we get better than average police coverage” No kidding. A LOT BETTER.
      So you, fortunately, have no idea what the average Mexican neighborhood faces regarding police “coverage”.

      Since only criminals have guns, and the police need 1-2 hours to respond to a call (even in cities), any bad guy with a gun can rob every person on an entire block in 15 minutes – with no resistance.
      Happens all the time in Mexico.

      I’m glad it hasn’t happened to you.

  • SickofLiberalbs9999

    One bad guy with a gun and all these well-meaning citizens are helpless.

  • Alejandro

    Centenario safe it is not like I remember. Comitan is one of the dumping grounds for bodies. There are still more to discover according to Zeta