To understand what the area between San Diego and Mexico once was like in the 1980s there is book by Joseph Wambaugh that tells the true story. It is Lines and Shadows written and published by Wambaugh in 1984.
Back then the area was a crime infested desert that was safe for no one, most of all not safe for Mexicans entering the U.S. illegally. Most of the illegals were simply seeking gainful employment but they were preyed upon by criminals from both sides of the border.
Wambaugh’s book details how a group of San Diego police officers called the Border Crime Task Force were sent to patrol the area between San Diego and Mexico. Their mission was not to apprehend the thousands of illegal aliens slipping into the United States; that was the job of the U.S. Border Patrol. The Border Patrol did apprehend illiegals, so many that one-third of total illegals caught by the Border Patrol anywhere came from South of San Diego. The cops’ mission was to stop the ruthless bandits who preyed on these Mexican illegals — relentlessly robbing, raping, and murdering defenseless men, women, and children.
In 1991 an astounding change was brought to this region, a change that benefited both the United States and Mexico. This changes especially benefited poor Mexicans, the campesinos. Hardest hit were the ruthless bandits who were forced to go somewhere else to ply their deadly trade.
The Daily Signal has released a video explaining this change, which was a 40-mile long border wall which commenced contstruction in 1991. The wall stopped illegal crossings, but San Diego remains today as the busiest legal crossing between the United States and Mexico.