With crime lower in downtown Juárez, merchants turn their efforts to cleanup

Rio Grande Digital

An unidentified man uses soapy water and a broom Thursday to clean a street in downtown Juarez. (Photo courtesy city of Juarez)

Intensive law enforcement and crime prevention in downtown Juárez are paying off, the city says, and now merchants are taking up soap and scrub brushes to complete the transformation, the city said in a news release.

Earlier this summer, the city designated the downtown area — roughly the neighborhoods surrounding Juárez Avenue  — to become a security zone.

The police confiscated guns, drugs, pirated media, illegal slot machines and other contraband. Many people were arrested and, in a controversial move, street people and others perceived as undesirables were forced out of downtown to other parts of the city, according to various Juárez media reports.

Police and city social workers held public meetings with residents to give out crime-prevention information and to get to know the residents personally in order to win their trust.

But just as the city declared victory over crime in the area, municipal police shot and killed an alleged carjacker Thursday on Lerdo Avenue, about a block from the iconic Juárez strip.

With the city claiming success, merchants now are scrubbing sidewalks, painting storefronts and hauling away garbage.

The Juárez newspaper Norte published an article Thursday quoting city police Chief Julian Leyzaola as saying that criminals are not comfortable with cleaning as they are always looking to hide in dirty places.

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