SAN DIEGO (Border Report) — Fifteen years ago, the city of Tijuana made tinted windows on passenger vehicles illegal in an effort to fight crime.
Police insisted criminals purposely darkened their windows to avoid detection.
But polarized or tinted windows have remained legal in California and other Mexican cities nearby, such as Mexicali to the east.
For years, many visitors in the region have complained about being pulled over due to the color of their windows resulting in traffic citations, towing expenses or bribes to police officers.
Tijuana’s city council has adopted a proposal to ease restrictions on tinted windows, according to Fernando Sánchez González, director of Security and Public Safety in Tijuana.
Sánchez says people will be allowed to darken their windows but no more than 25%. In California, motorists are allowed to tint their windows up to 30% to allowed 70% of transparency. Drivers can tint their rear windows as dark as they want as long as their vehicle has two side mirrors, not including the rearview mirror.
Karim Chalita Rodriguez, the head of Tijuana’s Conventions and Tourism Committee, worries that the new guidelines are vague and won’t prevent police abuse and unnecessary stops by officers who will continue to decide if windows are too dark or within allowable limits.
“Who is going to measure?” he said. “It’s going to be very subjective.”
Chalita Rodriguez says there are currently many complaints from tourists about being extorted by police officers for driving with tinted windows.
“This happens even with factory-manufactured windows, it’s going to create a lot of confusion,” he said.
Tijuana city councilperson, Gina Arana, said tinted windows have become one of the leading reasons why police officers pull motorists over.
“Most of the people who file formal complaints are car owners with tinted windows, many of them tourists,” said Arana. “But for now, police officers will have to make the final determination whether someone is violating the law.”