Tuesday, December 29, 2009


Good news for some of Mexico's closest neighbors:

Violence drops in U.S. cities neighboring Mexico

Murders in key U.S. border cities dropped in the first half of 2009, new FBI crime data show, and some law enforcement officials say that trend is continuing.

Although 1,000 people were slain in the Mexican city of Ciudad Juárez in the first six months of 2009, according to the U.S. State Department, neighboring El Paso had four murders. That's two fewer than the six-month total in 2008, FBI data show.

With one week left in 2009, murders total 13, compared with 18 in 2008, El Paso Police Sgt. Chris Mears says.

One of the largest drops was in Tucson, where murders fell from 30 in the first half of 2008 to nine in the same period this year. Declines, although smaller, also were reported in San Diego and the Texas border cities of Brownsville and McAllen.

Meanwhile, across the border in Juárez...

With more than 2,500 homicides, Juarez accounts for more than one-third of the 6,000 drug-related murders in Mexico this year; since April, when a surge of federal troops brought a brief lull in the death toll, the city has resumed a pace of eight to 10 murders a day. The violence has also spilled over into the suburban neighborhoods of El Paso.

The city estimates that the violence has created 7,000 orphans and displaced 100,000 people, many of whom have fled across the Rio Grande to Texas. Most of the members of the business and political elite of Juarez, including the mayor, now either sleep or maintain a second home in El Paso. The chief human rights advocate also retreated across the river.

and Tijuana...

More than 45 people have been killed in Tijuana since Saturday in grisly drug violence that appears to signal the end of a nearly yearlong truce between rival crime bosses, according to Mexican authorities.

On Sunday, the mutilated body of a man was discovered hanging from an overpass on a busy highway. Two days later, four decapitated bodies were found. That night, heavily-armed gunmen opened fire in a seafood restaurant, killing four people.

Bodies have been turning up all over the city, in parked cars, taco stands and on streets. At least eight people were killed Wednesday.

and Nuevo Laredo...

Several people were killed during a shooting in Nuevo Laredo.

Mexican military soldiers were chasing suspects on the street when they opened fire. A 27-year-old and two families sitting in a truck were killed. Two other people were also wounded.

The moral of the story seems pretty obvious to us: it's a lot safer to live near Mexico than to live near the United States. Maybe 2010 is the year we finally get serious about putting up that border wall.

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