Steel razor wire installed by American troops and Border Patrol officials to deter migrants from crossing into the country illegally from Mexico is now being stolen and sold to people looking to protect themselves in what is said to be the most dangerous city in the world.
Officials in Tijuana reported this week that around 15 to 20 people have been arrested there for allegedly removing concertina wire from the U.S.-Mexico border fence and setting it up around their own homes.
“The people arrested were mainly Mexican [citizens], and most were people who have been deported from the United States, and people who have problems with drug addiction and live mostly on the street,” Reynaldo González Mora, a Tijuana border official, told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Tijuana’s secretary of public safety also said to the newspaper that thieves are taking the wire at night and then are pawning it off to residents who want to beef up their home security. The wire he added, is more distinctive than anything found in the city’s hardware stores.
Concertina wire — named after the accordion-like instrument — is outfitted with galvanized steel blades and can expand and contract, making it easy to transport. It’s been frequently used by militaries worldwide since the outbreak of World War I, according to the Associated Press.
Customs and Border Protection officials said in November last year that they were setting up the wire at the busy San Ysidro Port of Entry, near Tijuana, to “prepare for the potential arrival of thousands of people migrating in a caravan heading towards the border of the United States.”
President Trump at the time boasted about the wire, tweeting “This is what it really looks like – no climbers anymore under our Administration!”
Now, the San Diego Union-Tribune reports contractors were spotted Monday on the U.S. side of the fence near the San Ysidro Port of Entry re-installing some of the stolen wire.
Those who currently have the wire wrapped around homes and properties in Tijuana are being coy as to where they obtained it.
“I don’t actually live here in this house, so I have no idea how that wire got here,” one woman told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Tijuana made headlines days ago after being ranked as the most violent city in the world.
The Mexican nonprofit group Citizens’ Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice said it made that determination based on using the average number of homicides per 100,000 residents in 2018.