May 9, 2008

Law in Tijuana prohibits tinted windows in cars

By Mariana Martínez

Since May third, there is a new controversial law in Tijuana that prohibits tinted windows in cars, and the city of Rosarito has adopted the new law.

The law is part of a new strategy against organized crime, that seeks to stop the common practice of having tinted windows and no license plates. According to official statistics, cars with those characteristics are involved in 70% of crime around Tijuana.

But the measure has caused discontent, in part because a large part of the patrol cars and cars driven by authorities had tinted windows and continue to drive around after the measure took effect.

The other reason is a recent incident in which a family could have died.

The incident happened the night of May 4th, when the Security Secretary, Alberto Capella, and his bodyguards where driving in a main highway, when they where cut off by a speeding Lincoln Navigator, with tinted windows and no license plates.

When the bodyguards and official police assigned to Capella´s protection motioned the driver to stop, the guy speed off, driving the wrong way before crashing in a little alley by the offices of the State Police.

The officers in headquarters thought they where under attack and fired.

Inside the car was the driver, 23 year old Salvador Eduardo Zavala, his wife and three year old son, who where not hurt.

Capella said his bodyguards thought they where preventing an assassination attempt against the Secretary while Zavala, —the driver of the Navigator—, said the cars where not patrol cars, and he thought he was going to be kidnapped.

“Recent violence in the city has made us all hyper-alert, and this came to a series of terrible misunderstandings”, said Capella.

“I can’t blame my bodyguards or the State Police personnel for reacting the way they did: the irresponsible attitude of the driver, driving erratically in a vehicle with tinted windows and no license plates could have resulted in a tragedy”, he added.

Two days after such incident, municipal police put up eight checkpoints across Tijuana and managed to detect 441 cars with tinted windows who agreed to get rid of it immediately, before facing a fine.

The officers at the checkpoints also detected 5 cars without license plates, one drunk-driver, a person driving without a license and a car that had been reported stolen in San Diego.

The car is a 2000 white Suburban. The passangers, 36 year old Irma Leticia Flores Ramos and 22 year old Carlos Enrique Villalon, where arrested and will be charged with possession of a stolen vehicle.

“We want to send a clear message that not complying with the law, may it be the tinted windows or more severe crimes, will not be tolerated”, said Capella, “we want the citizens to realize this”.

Return to the Frontpage