Mexico: Ciudad Juarez murders down by almost half


A skull in Juarez, one of Mexico's border towns.


Spencer Platt

Murders in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico, have almost halved since 2010, according to President Filipe Calderon.

He credited government investment with the improvement in security in one of the world's most violent cities, the BBC reported.

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The city's murder rate hit a high in 2010 when there were more than 3,000 killings, many of them drug-related.

Speaking from Ciudad Juarez on Friday, Calderon said the number of of deaths had dropped by 45 percent in 2011.

According to the president, the figures from the Citizens' Council for Public Security had continued to fall in the first six weeks of 2012 – representing a 57 percent decrease from the same period the year before.

According to US security think tank Stratfor, murders fell from 3,111 in 2010 to 1,955 in 2011. Juarez is still Mexico's deadliest city, despite the improvement.

Over the past two years, the government has invested some 5 billion pesos (more than $390 million) in a program called Todos somos Juarez or "We are all Juarez," the Prensa Latina news agency reported. By targeting social problems such as unemployment, lack of education and health care, Calderon said, authorities "are managing to get the city off the ground."

Yet the outgoing president's critics accuse him of waging a heavy-handed, and largely unsuccessful, war on drugs.

Calderon's speech came the same day that he unveiled a billboard in Juarez, facing north of the border with the US, bearing the message: "No more weapons."

He accuses Washington of failing to stop the flow of automatic weapons into Mexico, where they arm violent drug cartels.

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