CIUDAD JUAREZ.- A new Mexican military-led initiative aiming to combat crime and violence tied to organized crime groups in Juárez kicked off with a ceremony under the mega flag at Chamizal Park.
The new strategy — named “Estrategia Unidos Por Juárez” or “Unidos X Juárez” (United for Juárez) — seeks to improve coordination between the military, law enforcement, educational institutions, and civic groups to reduce homicides, drug dealing, and addiction.
Juárez Mayor Cruz Perez Cuellar described the new program as a “relaunch” of ongoing crime prevention efforts. “All they (residents) are asking for is to live in peace,” the mayor said at the ceremony on Tuesday, July 19th.
Juárez police attend the ceremony launching the new “Unidos Por Juárez” (United for Juárez) crime prevention strategy on Tuesday at the Chamizal Park in Juárez, Mexico.
The plan includes familiar tactics: more soldiers on the streets to assist police, helicopter patrols, and the city’s public surveillance system with more than 1,500 security cameras. There also will be programs to keep young people from falling into the hands of gangs and drug cartels, officials said.
Human rights, education
It’s important that any strategy attack the roots of the problems of drug abuse and crime, including using education to spur personal development, said Juan Ignacio Camargo Nassar, rector of the Autonomous University of Ciudad Juárez, known as UACJ. The university is part of the unified effort.
Culture, the arts, and sports are “powerful tools to prevent violence, particularly in the vulnerable areas of our city,” Camargo said at the ceremony.
Camargo emphasized that respect for human rights should be a priority of the new public safety effort.
For decades, human rights violations have dogged the Mexican army’s increased involvement in violence pacification deployments across Mexico. Critics contend that military intervention makes situations worse.
Juárez violence: more than 600 dead
Juárez has seen a recent surge in bloodshed with more than 50 killings in July, even after homicides decreased in June compared to a month prior.
There have been more than 600 murders in the city this year, including panic-inducing, public daytime shootings, such as last week’s attack that killed three people outside a gas station and an auto-parts store.
Mexican National Guard troops salute during the “Unidos Por Juárez” (United for Juárez) ceremony on Tuesday at Chamizal Park.
The recent uptick in violence is due to a fracture within the crime organization named La Empresa (The Company), an offshoot of the old Juárez drug cartel, the Chihuahua attorney general said last week. One of the men killed at the gas station was a reputed lieutenant in the organization believed to have been gunned down by other members of the group.