EL PASO, Texas - El Paso's economy is looking at a loss of $11 million in business revenue due to the fallout from the Aug. 3 shooting that left 22 people dead.
According to a comprehensive economic algorithm constructed by University of Texas El Paso Prof. Thomas Fullerton, the tragedy triggered a sharp drop in consumer confidence and fears over shopping in public areas.
Ironically, that algorithm was designed years ago to measure how much money El Paso was getting from terrified consumers in Juarez who were choosing to avoid violence in their communities by shopping in the borderland.
"The additional homicides are undoubtedly causing fewer shoppers to cross into El Paso and other cities along the border as well that would otherwise be the case," said Professor Fullerton.
But now, tragic circumstance have flipped that algorithm, with Juarez consumers choosing to stay at home or take their business elsewhere.
Cross border business was already lagging in recent months but has dropped even further as word spread that alleged shooter Patrick Crusius had been targeting Hispanics.
"It is very sad because a lot of people come here just to do some shopping," said Lupe Pitchell. "Now they are scared to come back and forth because of the shooting. There is hatred in the air. They are very scared."
However, according to Fullerton's algorithms and research, this dip should not last too long.
"This is a short term phenomenon," said Prof. Fullerton. "The Christmas season should return things to normal."
The business slowdown can be seen not only in border markets like in the downtown area but all across El Paso where many residents have been hesitant to return to their usual stores, especially their neighborhood Walmart stores.