EL PASO, Texas - EL PASO, Texas - The Juarez gang Artistas Asesinos (Assassin Artists) released threatening videos on social media Monday.
One of eleven mask-wearing members began the 1-minute-23-second video by saying, in Spanish, "here we are, the double A," followed by the clamor of guns being cocked.
“I hate to say this, but it’s almost like promoting a business," said Victor Manjarrez, associate director for the UTEP Center for Law & Human Behavior, "They learned a lesson from ISIS. They broadcast that. They put that on YouTube, people pick it up and it gets attention."
According to El Diario de Juarez, more than 800 homicides have been recorded in Juarez in 2018. The murder rate in Juarez continues to rise, and new U.S. Department of State daytime travel restrictions have been implemented for U.S. consulate employees.
ABC-7 asked local and federal law enforcement agencies if the public should be concerned about violence in Mexico crossing into El Paso.
"We are always working to keep the border safe and process information from our sister city," said Darrel Petry, El Paso police spokesman. "Even when the violence reached its highest, El Paso did not experience any spillover."
Manjarrez echoed what Petry said, adding that we’re fortunate on this side of the border.
The U.S. Department of State updated travel warnings on Aug. 22, keeping the Mexican state of Chihuahua at Level 3, urging travelers to reconsider travel because of widespread "violent crime and gang activity."
Among the five areas of increased caution, at the top, Ciudad Juarez. ABC-7 asked Majarrez, who who worked for the Border Patrol for 20 years, if traveling to Juarez was dangerous.
“Yes, but there’s a caveat,” he said, referring to the portion in the State Department warning that mentions the Downtown Juarez area "due to an increase in homicides during daylight hours."
U.S. government employees are not permitted to travel to Downtown Juarez without consulate approval.
The restricted permitter includes the area south of Calle Malecon, west of Calle 5 de Mayo, north of Calle 18 de Marzo and east of Avenida Francisco Villa.
After dark, employees are prohibited from traveling west of Eje Vial Juan Gabriel and south of Boulevard Zaragoza, and at all times from areas southeast of Boulevard Independencia and the Valle de Juarez region.
"I’ve been proud of El Paso,” said Manjarrez. “The strong collaboration and participation between the police departments, Department of Justice, Sheriff’s Departments. I’ve never seen it stronger, and I’ve worked across the border sector across all four states.”