The chief of police in Juarez, Mexico’s most notoriously violent metropolis over the past few years, has promised that residents will see a different, safer city by December.
“We are harassing them,” Julian Leyzaola, a retired army colonel, told the Associated Press. “They see us everywhere, even in their soup. When there is a murder, it’s not just one unit that responds, but rather 30.”
Leyzaola, who gained notoriety for his aggressive tactics and alleged abuses while holding the same post in Tijuana until last year, took the Juarez job in March. His term has coincided with an ongoing drop in the murder rate in Juarez, which began before he took office. As InSight has noted, there were 350 killings in Juarez in October 2010, but just 150 in May, which marked a two-year low.
President Felipe Calderon, who has spoken positively of Leyzaola’s performance, credited to the drop in Juarez to efforts by the Federal Police in the city.
While Leyzaola was given a great deal of credit for a drop in the Tijuana murder rate during his three years as chief, the crime rate has bounced back up. Furthermore, some analysts have questioned whether there was a significant drop in murders to begin with.
Leyzaola has also been dogged by accusations of human rights violations in Juarez.