Homicide rates in Juarez dropping but do residents feel safer?

Murder down do Juarenses feel safer?

EL PASO, Texas - Chihuaha State officials have released figures which show a drop in the murder rate before.

Former mayors of Juarez have claimed the city was safer in the past.

But Juarenses didn't always agree.

Now, many say Juarez is becoming the city they loved, once again.

Juarez on a Saturday night seems to be as busy as it was in its heyday.

Traffic moves at a steady pace, and people are laughing, walking the streets, and all with good reason.

The Chihuahua State Attorney General released the number of murders in Ciudad Juarez for 2013.

Compared to 2010 at the height of Mexico's drug war,the murder rate last year isn't even close.

In 2010, there were 3,622 murders reported.

In 2011, the number of murders dropped by 1500.

The year after that, in 2012 the murder rate dropped again to 797.

And now in 2013 the year ended with 497 homicides.

By comparison there were 412 homicides in Chicago for 2013.

"Of course it's a lot safer than it used to be," said Juarez resident Jose Rocha. He was walking home after closing up his restaurant for the night.

He tells ABC-7 he's slowly seeing Juarez prosper again.

"It is coming back. A lot of business are happy to be open more late at night, we have more people coming in from El Paso," said Rocha.

Luis Rodarte is a college student in Cd. Juarez.

He says many businesses that had closed their doors before are now re-opening and new entertainment venues are popping up.

ABC-7 asked Rocha if people were still afraid of the police and the military.

The officials were often accused of extortion and robbery.

"No, not anymore, not any more, you know we have a new president of the city so we feel more safe," said Rocha.

Rodarte gave ABC-7 some insight on why he felt the violence had gone down.

He told ABC-7 he believes it's cyclical and there's no way the violence could have continued forever but also points to new leadership in Juarez.

Rodarte tells ABC-7 the city still has a long way to go. He wants a stronger job market and the crime rate to continue to drop.

For the new year Rocha said he's hopeful.

"Oh were going to have a great year and we look forward for a great year for us and El Paso," said Rocha.

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