In the last few years La Ceja has turned into the most central and commercial area of El Alto, as it works as a connecting point between La Paz and its basin and the city of El Alto, which stands just above. Its strategic position has allowed the establishment of all kinds of commercial activities, from women selling vegetables sitting on plastic sheets to whole buildings dedicated to shopping.
La Ceja is undoubtedly a problematic area: that of the massive increase in the number of “freelance” sellers on the streets, who occupy public grounds and pavements at all times with no official permission to sell, is one of the biggest issues. Not only these sorts of “market stalls” do not comply with current rules of size, structure and safety at all, but products' quality and hygiene leave much to be desired, too. Streets are dirty, full of rubbish and potholes, and look like rivers every time it rains; many passageways have turned into open-air toilets and the smell is unbearable.
Another huge problem in La Ceja is general security, as at all times it is very likely to hear somebody screaming or crying for help, or see a thief running with some stolen goods in his hands. The most dangerous moments are the evening and night hours, when the areas around the bridge or near the airport gates have turned into a shelter for gangs of drunkards and people inhaling glue. They survive by committing all kinds of crimes are seldom punished, because of the constant lack of staff or equipment on the authorities' side.