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murder in ciudad juarez A scene from the bad days.el pais

Life is better in Juárez, but it’s not clear why

Several initiatives were introduced to combat violence, but there was no evaluation

There are good reasons to be pleased if you live in Ciudad Juárez, the Chihuahua city of 1.5 million people that was once the murder capital of the world.

But it’s too bad that no one really knows how and why Juárez dropped from No. 1 to No. 38 on the list of the most violent cities. And that lack of clarity, suggests InSight Crime today, is unfortunate because the experience cannot easily be replicated elsewhere.

Some key initiatives were introduced in 2010, but “a golden opportunity” to learn which intervention programs were the most effective was lost because there was no evaluation.

The most ambitious program was Todos Somos Juárez (“We are all Juárez”), in which US $380 million was invested in social programs during 2010 and 2011: community centers, hospitals and schools were built in low-income areas through the program implemented by former President Felipe Calderón.

Working groups composed of local citizens from various sectors have also been attributed for playing a positive role in the city’s comeback, along with the reduction of that of the military. There was a war on in Juárez in those days but sending in the soldiers now seems to have been less than effective.

However, the impact of all those efforts was never evaluated, according to the International Crisis Group, a non-government organization whose focus is on the prevention of conflict. It says “the opportunity to create innovative, sustainable programs subject to outside review and evaluation” was wasted.

That’s in spite of the fact that one of the goals at the time was to apply what was learned to other cities where violence prevailed.

On the other hand, those were bad days in Ciudad Juárez: there were 3,622 homicides in 2010 (a number that was down to about 500 last year).

Staying alive might have been the more important consideration at the time.

Mexico News Daily

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