HomeNewsBriefViolent Crime on the US Southwest Border Decreased from 2004-2011: Study
BRIEF

Violent Crime on the US Southwest Border Decreased from 2004-2011: Study

MEXICO / 27 FEB 2013 BY MARGUERITE CAWLEY EN

A US government study points to an overall decrease in US border crime between 2004 to 2011, further indicating that fears of a "spillover" effect from Mexico's war against organized crime may be unfounded.

The report, released by the United States Government Accountability Office (GAO) earlier this month, found that the average rate for both violent and property crimes had dropped in the US Southwest border states. Arizona saw the most significant decline, of 33 percent over the seven-year time period. Other decreases were seen in Texas (30 percent), California (26 percent), and New Mexico (eight percent from 2005 onward).

Significantly, violent crime was found to be lower in border counties than in non-border counties for all the years examined in three out of the four states -- California, New Mexico and Texas -- with Arizona the only exception.

The GAO also reported that assaults against Border Patrol agents decreased between 2008 to 2012, to levels 25 percent lower than in 2006. Officials from 31 of the 37 state and local law enforcement agencies interviewed by the GAO stated that they had not observed violent crime from Mexico regularly spilling over into the US, although many said they were still concerned about safety levels in the region.

Local law enforcement officials told the GAO that increased law enforcement personnel and new infrastructure may have contributed to the declining crime rates. Recent US federal efforts -- including technical assistance to Mexico under the 2008 Merida Initiative and $600 million put towards border security in 2010 -- have also aimed to curb violence in the region.

InSight Crime Analysis

Concerns have long existed about the extent to which Mexico's conflict may affect security dynamics in the US border states. Several incidents, involving Mexican nationals carrying out violent attacks in relation to the drug trade on US soil, have only served to feed such fears.

However, available data has generally failed to support these concerns. Figures from the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), for example, show that violent crime in Arizona declined from 532 incidents per 100,000 inhabitants in 2000, to 408 in 2010. An analysis by Austin-based newspaper the Statesman found that, despite the release of a government-sponsored report warning of escalating violence in Texas, the combined number of murders in the state's 14 border counties fell by 33 percent between 2006 and 2010. The GAO's most recent study further supports the interpretation that claims of rampant "spillover violence" in the US border region have been mostly exaggerated.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Tags

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

MEXICO / 29 JUN 2022

El Chueco has quite the rap sheet, having allegedly killed priests, a tour guide, baseball players and an American tourist.

COCAINE / 25 APR 2022

Mexican authorities have arrested a leader of the initially Guerrero-based Los Rojos crime group in the neighboring state of Michoacán,…

HUMAN RIGHTS / 28 JAN 2022

A number of media workers in Mexico have been shot and killed, stabbed to death and ambushed in armed attacks…

About InSight Crime

THE ORGANIZATION

‘Ndrangheta Investigation, Exclusive Interview With Suriname President Make Waves

2 DEC 2022

Two weeks ago, InSight Crime published an investigation into how Italian mafia clan the ‘Ndrangheta built a cocaine trafficking network from South America to ‘Ndrangheta-controlled Italian ports. The investigation generated…

WORK WITH US

Open Position: Full Stack WordPress Developer

28 NOV 2022

As Full Stack WordPress Developer You Will: Work collaboratively with other developers and designers to maintain and improve organizational standards.Demonstrate a high level of attention to detail, and implement best…

THE ORGANIZATION

Join Us This #GivingTuesday in Exposing Organized Crime

24 NOV 2022

For over twelve years, InSight Crime has contributed to the global dialogue on organized crime and corruption. Our work has provided policymakers, analysts, academics, journalists, and the general public with…

THE ORGANIZATION

Like Crime, Our Coverage Knows No Borders

18 NOV 2022

The nature of global organized crime means that while InSight Crime focuses on Latin America, we also follow criminal dynamics worldwide. InSight Crime investigator Alessandro Ford covers the connections between Latin American and European…

THE ORGANIZATION

Using Data to Expose Crime

11 NOV 2022

Co-director Jeremy McDermott made a virtual presentation at a conference hosted by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The ‘Sixth International Conference on Governance, Crime, and Justice…