BROWNSVILLE, Texas – Across the bridge from Brownsville is Matamoros. While it did not make the list for the most violent cities, other cities not far from us including Reynosa and Ciudad Victoria, ranked in the top 50 cities with the highest murder rates in the world. It is something that happens quite too often along the Texas-Mexico border.
In a deadly shootout which killed 21 people near the border, four Mexican police officers were among those killed in an hour-long gun battle with suspected cartel members. It happened in the small town of Villa Union, a town not far from Eagle Pass, Texas. While this incident is shocking to the world, this type of violence is way too common near the border. Some cities near the Rio Grande Valley made the top 50 list for most dangerous cities in the world.
Reynosa and Ciudad Victoria were among the top cities in Mexico with the highest numbers in homicides. Murder rates in Mexico have historically increased by 2 percent since Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took office. This incident in Villa Union comes just after Obrador’s first year of presidency. When asked by a reporter about what he is doing to stop the violence in Mexico, he dodged the question.
Federal officials say there have been more than 29,000 homicides so far in 2019. Compared to the 28,000 in 2018. But many human rights group are saying the number of dead is double of that being reported, with around 50,000 killed in connection to cartel violence.
Reyna Luna, a journalist for Estrella TV says many killings go unreported because Mexican journalist are afraid of the retaliation from drug cartels. “In Mexico in general, being a journalist is practically having a death sentence.”
When it comes to the violence near the Rio Grande Valley and the Mexico border, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling says there’s no telling when violence will occur.
“In Mexico it’s random. It’s wherever the marines catch the bad guys and then all heck breaks loose and if you’re involved in that area that’s pretty dangerous.”
While the crime rates in the cities across the border are high to cartel violence, the cities in the Rio Grande Valley were named some of the safest in the United States. Those include places like Pharr and Mission, Texas.
The search for the remaining shooters in the Villa Union shooting continues. The small town basically on lockdown tonight after the shootout between soldiers, police and cartel members.