Ahead of POTUS speech, locals describe border community in Arizona

Safety along the border

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - While the nation prepares for an address from President Donald Trump on Tuesday night, folks living in Nogales, Arizona hope more people will consider seeing their border community for themselves.

Gustavo Acosta and his wife have operated Gariola Coffee House and Deli for the last seven years at the corner of Grand and County Club, near the northern city limit.

"We've never felt that crime has been an issue," said Acosta. "In fact, we think Nogales is a safe city."

While Nogales and its surrounding county recorded their first homicides in years 2018, Santa Cruz County Sheriff Tony Estrada said those crimes shouldn't be attributed to the border. He considered what's happened in 2018 "unprecedented."

"We're still one of the safest border communities around," he said.

Data provided by the sheriff's office show calls for other violent crimes like assaults and domestic violence have held pretty steady in Santa Cruz County.

James Manson, who stopped into Gariola for lunch, doesn't give a second thought to crime. He wishes more people would take an interest in the economic activity moving through the Port of Entry than the national rhetoric.

"Everything is going smooth, everything is working well," he said. "There's no violence."

Born and raised in Nogales, Manson said there was a reason he returned home.

"It was something as kids that we also spoke about, about leaving and never coming back, but I came back," he said. "I think it's the greatest place to raise your family and have your kids."

Armando Taddei and his wife have a one-year-old son. Taddei's from Hermosillo, Mexico and moved to his wife's hometown of Nogales.

While waiting on his to-go order, Taddei said he feels safer in Nogales than most cities in Mexico. He doesn't worry when he forgets to lock his car at night. His loved ones back in Hermosillo are a short weekend trip away.

"Here is like getting the best of two worlds together, because you're around a lot of people from Mexico and a lot of people from the United States," said Taddei. "We all work together. The environment here is pretty cool. It's peaceful and I really like it."

Taddei joked that he’s used to explaining the difference between televised talking points and real life. As an exchange student in Illinois year ago, he said the friends he made were surprised to learn he lived in a proper house and drove a similar car.

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