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Juarez is a large Mexican city located in the middle of the Chihuahuan Desert. While you are in Mexico, you are nowhere near the tropical Mexico with beautiful beaches and Aztec and Mayan culture many people expect. Juarez is home to the Mexican vaquero (cowboy) culture and you will be more likely to encounter people resembling cowboys than any other vision of a Mexican one might have. However, Juarez is rich in the northern culture of Mexico, and most travelers will find this more charming and realistic than the culture they experience at many other locales that are not off the beaten path in Mexico.
In past years, criminal activity in Juarez, as well as the city and state of Chihuahua, in general, was extremely high and something to worry about, but not anymore. There had been revelations of police corruption in the area and some incidents quite violent in nature as they pertained to the border area's prevalence in illegal drug trafficking. Juarez experienced over 1600 murders in 2008 and 3010 in 2009 and 2010 (out of a population of 1,500,000) connected with drug trafficking. However, the city has been able to turn this around remarkably fast since 2011. Massive purges of corrupt officials took place as well as direct and decisive actions by the federal government to catch and imprison high level criminals by bringing the Mexican army into the city. Juarez is safe
Foreign visitors should not have much to worry about as long as they follow common sense; if you avoid venturing out alone into suspicious areas of the town, particularly after dark, making obvious your personal wealth to strangers, and staying well clear of any illegal activity, particularly involving drug purchase/smuggling, you should be fine. Just remember that Mexican police are notoriously lacking in concern for those whose activities are considered "high-risk." The US Border Patrol can also be quite mercurial about these matters, and neither American nor Mexican prisons are very enticing places to spend one's vacation.