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Drug Violence Dropped In Mexico In 2012

Octavio Rodriguez, a researcher at the University of San Diego's Trans-Border Institute, talks to KPBS about a new report that shows drug-related violence in Mexico is down.

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Drug-related violence in Mexico seems to have leveled off and even decreased slightly, according to a new report from the University of San Diego.

But, USD researchers say they may have some trouble tracking violence in Mexico in the future because the Mexican government has begun to reduce access to data about violence.

Octavio Rodriguez, who co-wrote the report, told KPBS the violence especially decreased in Juarez, Mexico. From 2011 to 2012, homicides decreased 40 percent, he said.

Murders in Tijuana decreased as well, he said. While Tijuana was the second-most violent Mexican city in 2007, it is now the eighth-most violent.

But, there has been an increase in homicides in other parts of Mexico, he said.

"Violence has moved to some other areas, not the traditional northern border states," he said. "Now in places such as the city of Monterrey or the touristic spot of Acapulco on the Pacific Coast."

Rodriguez said the most reliable hypothesis for this change in violence patterns is that the previous Mexican administration's crackdown on drug cartels created splinter groups that operate in different areas.

"They're moving and they're controlling smaller areas, but also with more amount of power," Rodriguez said. "That's why we've seen violence moving from one state to another."

Rodriguez said while last year the Mexican government released data on drug-related violence, "they said they aren't going to do that anymore."

"Because they consider that sensitive information," he said.

Rodriguez said he thinks the Mexican government is trying to keep attention off the problem while they try to solve it.

Claire Trageser contributed to this report.

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