Four more execution style murders in Ciudad Juarez on Sunday lead to a tally of 242 murders for the month of May. This is the highest number of murders per month so far this year and can only be explained by the ineffectiveness of joint federal, state and local police operations in combating crime.
“The numbers show that we the citizens must begin to take protection into our own hands as there is no authority that can stop this slaughter” said Laurencio Barraza, a member of the Organizacion Popular Independiente, a citizen’s watchdog group.
“We are attacked and nobody is imprisoned while there are thousands of police and dozens of policing operations . The administration of justice does not exist. The authorities have no clue where this is heading” he added.
“We are completely closed off to the world, isolated in our homes and neighborhoods for fear of becoming victims of violence” said Mr Barraza “ because until now the police forces have only protected the wealthy classes.”
Mr Barraza continued “Our government institutions don’t do their jobs, they take no actions. What we really need is for the state to provide justice because until now they have only increased our fear in Juarez.
Hernan Ortiz, a member of Ciudadanos por Una Mejor Administracion Publica, another citizen’s watchdog group, stated that the high level of violence in Juarez is due to a corresponding high level of impunity. “If the impunity of criminals is not addressed then crime will never decrease.”
“The level of violence is due to this impunity. It makes no difference how many police are brought or how many operations are implemented, if the law is not applied rigorously the situation will never change” said Mr Ortiz.
May was the most violent month of the year with 242 murders recorded. In April there were 240, in March 203, in February 163 and 227 in January, according to newspaper archives based on statistical data from the state of Chihuahua Attorney Generals’ office.
The murder rate so far this year equals the rate in 2009 when an average of 7 murders were recorded daily. So the annual murder rate in Ciudad Juarez, with a population of almost 1.5 million inhabitants, has remained steady at approximately 133 per 100,000 inhabitants since 2009, making the city the world's murder capital.
Most of these homicide victims are drug cartel gunmen and traffickers and street gang members. A significant number, however, were common middle and lower class citizens usually caught in crossfires or victims of mistaken identity.
To put these numbers in a meaningful perspective consider that the comparable murder rate in New York city ,with a population of 8.5 million people, was 6 per 100,000 inhabitants for the year of 2008.
Three cities in the U.S, with a similar population size to Juarez are Philadelphia Pa, Las Vegas Nv and San Antonio Tx. The 2008 murder rates for these 3 cities are 23 per 100,000 inhabitants in Philadelphia, 8.9 per 100,000 inhabitants in Las Vegas and 8.6 per 100,000 inhabitants in San Antonio.
Or put another way, San Antonio and Las Vegas typically average less than half the homicides in 1 year that Ciudad Juarez averages in 1 month.