Sicarios busy Christmas shopping? For whatever reasons, homicides in Juarez are way down this week. On Friday only one person was killed, a police officer, gunned down in his patrol car at 10 p.m. His partner was seriously wounded. He was the second police officer killed last week. Another man was killed by gunfire on Friday, but it was apparently just a fight in a bar, "Las Jarras," not a planned assassination. The victim, however, was just as dead as if he had been the target of a narcotraffic hit squad. No murders were recorded on Saturday or so far this morning. Two brothers, police officers, were gunned down in Chihuahua on Thursday. The Albuquerque Journal incorrectly stated this morning that they were killed in Juarez.
On the other hand, extortionists, perhaps needing some last-minute Christmas shopping cash, have stepped up the pace. The latest target appears to be tire repair shops. Other targets are bakeries, bars, restaurants, repair shops, used car lots, junk stores, schools, butcher shops, funeral homes, and grocery stores. The small business class in Juarez has been collectively terrorized to the breaking point by extortion, which increased dramatically since the Spring.
In November 1924 vehicles were stolen in Juarez, which calculates to a monthly rate of 128 per 100,000, or an annual rate of 1539. Albuquerque, one of the top cities for automobile theft in the U.S., had a monthly rate in 2008 of 61 per 100,000 or 732 per year.