Between 2008 and 2010 Ciudad Juarez was ranked the most violent city in the world, based on its homicide rate. The Mexican city's 1.5 million inhabitants saw over 3,000 homicides in 2010. But today it ranks as the 37th most violent city, far behind U.S. cities like New Orleans and Baltimore.
Today the 450,000 citizens who fled the city's cartel violence are slowly returning. New businesses are springing up, headlines feature mass weddings instead of massacres, and the circus is in town again after a seven-year hiatus. The dusty border town once defined by horrific violence and narco culture is coming back to life.
Before the war, Juarez embraced its hard knock roots and cartel bosses walked the streets like movie stars. This has changed. More and more young people would rather pick up a part-time job than a pistol. The city’s youth have seen death first hand—in fact young people between the ages of 14 and 25 saw the brunt of the conflict. Now they want a different life.
Photojournalist Dominic Bracco II's reporting follows Diego, a former gang member on his personal journey for reconciliation and redemption. In this video Bracco provides a behind-the-scenes look at the history of violence in Juarez.