Tecate seemed safe enough to me when I was there in February. It's a nice day trip from San Diego. Park on the California side and walk across. There is a good moneychanging shop on the US side if you need to buy pesos, or you can buy them in Mexico also.
Tecate is a very real-feeling Mexican town. Sure, it has a few shops which are dedicated to the tourist (like the shop where I got a nice Mexican blanket) but it's truly Mexican. Few people speak English, which adds to the fun.
I didn't shoot a single picture when I was there, but I had a good time. Lots of beggars looking for change (one wanted to sell me a Chihuahua puppy - that would have been a fun flight home from San Diego to Saskatchewan). But the people are friendly and not at all rude.
My biggest disappointment was that the Diana bar, just off the town square, had Tecate beer but not on tap! I like my beer on tap. But I had to have a Tecate in Tecate.
I just finished my last can of Tecate from Tecate last night. It's a good beer, and easy to find in San Diego as well.
Anyway, I don't pretend to understand the political climate of Mexico but it seems Tecate is pretty straightforward to visit.