A view of a street in Ciudad Juárez protected by a policeman
A view of a street in Ciudad Juárez protected by a policeman Getty Images

Ciudad Juarez has long been at the centre of Mexico's violent drug war. Indeed, according to the US Department of State, "Violence is an everyday occurrence in Juarez. There are no particular sections of the city to avoid as violence can occur anywhere, anytime." While clearly the city of 1.5 million remains a troubled spot in Mexico's drug cartel terrain, a new report from the New York Times suggests that the border town may at last be on the road to recovery from it's violent past as the fulcrum of the war between the Juarez and Sinaloa cartels.

Ciudad Juarez was once known as "ground zero in Mexico's war on drugs" and "one of the most murderous cities in the world." Hyperbole like these were well justified during the height of the city's crime binge. Indeed, some 3,111 murders were reported in 2010. However, these numbers have been steadily falling in recent years. In 2011, murders dropped to 1,900 and last year, that number dropped again to just 730. And while these numbers are still frightening, it does indicate that at least there is hope for Ciudad Juarez' future.

According to the New York Times, the city has undergone somewhat of a miniature renaissance in recent months: "thousands [of residents] are coming back. With violence down to a quarter of its peak, Ciudad Juárez, a perennial symbol of drug war devastation, is experiencing what many here describe as a boom." New restaurants and clubs are opening, dance studios are emerging and there are more houses up for sale.

While many of these improvements remain cosmetic, there is certainly a renewed feeling of hope spreading in Ciudad Juarez. Some critcs maintain that problems like extortion and the lack of criminal convictions remain endemic in the city. However, in a city that has for many years faced constant violence, these small glimmers of change may be profound indicators of a brighter future.

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