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Is Arizona Safe from the Mexican Drug Cartel and all the Kidnapping?

by John
(Oregon)

Q. I was on the web a while back and spotted a US Government BLM sign that read beware of drug smuggling and kidnapping anywhere in this area, suggest go above Hwy 8 and not below. I can't remember the exact wording but this is the jest of it.

Marianne's Reply: Although we've never personally had a problem, these areas near the Mexican border can be a safety concern.

Park rangers have told us that the most common concern is theft – in particular, camping supplies: tents, sleeping bags, water jugs, or any item that could help in the journey of a desperate illegal traveling on foot. To avert a problem, it’s a good idea to keep any such items locked away out of sight. The closer you are to the border, the more reason not to leave your vehicle or RV unattended.

Drug trafficking is another problem and, with it, the danger of finding yourself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Because of these concerns, some people are now more hesitant to camp in the free camping areas. If you think you’ll be safer in a campground than you would in a boondocking community, just because you’ve paid a fee, that’s up to you. Personally, I don’t see that the chance of a break-in would be less at a pay-campground unless it’s barricaded like a fortress.

Just My Opinion: I’ve read that there’s a symbiotic relationship between the “coyotes” (the pariahs who take hundreds of dollars from the Mexican people to smuggle them across the border) and the border patrol. It’s suggested that by letting a certain number of refugees slip through and a certain number get caught, both the coyotes and border patrol officers keep their jobs and their incomes. Doesn’t it always boil down to money somehow?

I think that water and food should be dropped off along the popular fugitive routes. Besides saving lives, it would decrease thefts and break-ins. No one, no matter how they got there, should be dying of thirst on American soil. Although some individuals and groups do this, it’s apparently against the law to aid these Mexicans in any way, including giving them water, food, or shelter. Pretending they don’t exist and letting them die of thirst in the desert is perfectly within the law. Hmmm.

But, that doesn't really answer your question, does it? I guess, really, everyone has to take everything into account for themselves. Yes, I do agree that there is some increased risk of crime close to the border because that is the case, wherever there are desperate people.

I think we all have to evaluate our own "fear factor" and go with what we feel comfortable with. Whether that's avoiding borders, cities, areas of poverty or natural disaster, bear country, rattle snakes, mountain tops, or four-lane highways.

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