The murder rate in the border city Juarez has fallen by more than 40 percent his year.
In first few days of July there were no killings at all. That’s remarkable in a city that earned the title of Mexico’s murder capital during the height of the drug war.
The calm has given many the confidence to open new businesses. “There’s a lot of new investment,” said Cristina Cunningham, president of the Juarez Restaurant Association. She points out three upscale nightclubs on one block that opened in recent months, including Quinto. The club has been filled since it opened in March.
“(About) 1,500 people come out and party,” said club owner Ozzie Fernandez of the Saturday night crowd.
The place is doing so well, Fernandez is adding a terrace outside and inside the VIP section is booked solid until the fall.
“I have to have reservations for the next 3 to 4 months,” said Fernandez pointing to the exclusive top floor section of his club.
Business picked up in Juarez as the murder rate fell to the lowest level in three years. In 2010 the killings peaked at eight a day.
Some credit a crackdown by the city’s tough police chief Julian Leyzaola, a former military officer who took the top cop job in March 2011. Since then his officers have arrested dozens of kidnappers, extortionists and drug dealers.
But others suspect the violence dropped because one cartel won the turf battle. Organized crime still takes a toll on businesses in Juarez. Fernandez and other business owners admit that they have to pay protection money to operate in Juarez.
Still it’s not stopping others from starting new businesses in Juarez. Javier Flores was set to open his bar "The Rock Lounge" Friday night.
“It’s mostly metal music on Fridays and Saturdays. On Sundays it’s going to be unplugged, so it’s going to be kind of a slowdown, “ said Flores.
He expected a big crowd on the first night including lots of friends from El Paso.
“I have all the confidence in the world that people are going to show up. If you build it they’ll come,” said Flores.
He’s so optimistic people will come to Juarez he’s considering offering shuttle service from the international bridge to his bar.
But he admits some question his plans. “Yeah, my mom but I’m a risk taker and I’m hoping for the best,” he said.