Mexico Stems Juarez Violence with Federal Intervention

Mexico Stems Juarez Violence with Federal Intervention

JUAREZ, Mexico -- In the past few months, the U.S. Army, attorney general, and various politicians have issued grave warnings about the atrocities taking place south of the Mexican border. They tend to describe a war that Mexico, because of deeply ingrained corruption, is incapable of containing on its own. But in one of Mexico's deadliest cities the murder rate has recently plummeted, largely due to federal military intervention and an ambitious anti-corruption campaign.

Following a spate of brutal killings early this year, media reports depicted Juarez as a war zone, a city on the verge of a humanitarian crisis. But while gun battles were all too frequent in 2008 and in early 2009, the violence has now subsided dramatically. In January and February, the city averaged 10 murders per day. The total so far for all of March is less than 10.

One reason for the decrease is the federal security forces that have poured into the city. Today in Juarez, 5,000 army troops and 2,000 federal police patrol the streets, together constituting more than five times the size of the city police force. Additionally, the newly inducted police chief is an army general, as are many of the top decision makers.

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