Mexico City’s government chalks up its mended reputation to lower crime rates, saying kidnappings have come down 26 percent since 2009.
Benilde Alvarez shut the lights and locked herself and her young daughters in their bedrooms. The machine gun fire from a shootout could be heard all night near their home in Morelia, Michoacán about four hours west of Mexico City. By the next morning Ms. Alvarez had decided to move her family from the drug-torn city where she’d been raised.
But Alvarez did not follow the lead of other families who have sought refuge from drug-related violence by heading to the United States. The mother of three picked up and went to Mexico City – a place once thought to be among the most dangerous in the country.
With the rise of gruesome massacres and public shootouts that have put civilians in the line of fire, Mexico City has become an unlikely
oasis for some hoping to escape the drug war.
“People say Mexico City is terrible, terrifying,” Alvarez says. “But the truth is right now we are safer in Mexico City than over there [in Morelia].”
The perception that Mexico’s capital city of 20 million people has sidestepped the most dangerous drug crimes persists even as it remains
notorious for kidnappings and armed robberies.
Mexico City’s government chalks up its mended reputation to lower crime rates, saying kidnappings have come down 26 percent since 2009. But even by its own figures, injuries from firearms rose over the same period by 21 percent and murders by 7.4 percent.
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