Thieves are stealing the razor wire installed by U.S. troops at the southern border and selling it in Tijuana to people who want to use it for home security, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
According to Tijuana city officials, as many as 20 arrests have been made in the past week in connection with the thefts.
"We have detected that the barbed wire that was installed in the border area is no longer there," said Tijuana public safety secretary Marco Antonio Sotomayor. "We know about the stealing of the concertina from United States authorities who have asked us for help through the liaison staff."
Who is responsible?
"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," said Tijuana border liaison director Reynaldo Gonzalez Mora.
The wire, which is significantly more effective than any barbed wire than can be purchased at a store, has become a valuable commodity in a city overcome with violence. From the Union-Tribune:
Tijuana was the most violent city in the world in 2018, according a new report by the Citizens' Council for Public Security and Criminal Justice. Homicides rose to historic levels in recent years while local Tijuana gangs battled over a lucrative domestic drug market, averaging about seven killings per day, the report said.
The uniqueness of the wire, however, also makes it rather easy for authorities to identify when it is seen outside a Tijuana residence.
The wire, installed by contractors at the direction of the National Guard, was added to existing border fencing in the southwestern United States in November as additional deterrent against migrants from caravans who might try to enter the U.S. illegally.