PHOENIX, May 2 (UPI) -- Increasing drug-related violence along the U.S.-Mexico border remains mostly on the Mexican side, officials say, sparing many Arizona border towns.
Crime rates in Nogales, Douglas, Yuma and other Arizona border communities have not risen even as drug-related killings and assaults have spiraled out of control on the other side of the border, The Arizona Republic reported Sunday.
Nogales, Ariz., Assistant Police Chief Roy Bermudez refutes politicians' assertions that Mexican cartel violence is overrunning American border communities, the newspaper said.
"We have not, thank God, witnessed any spillover violence from Mexico," Bermudez says. "You can look at the crime stats. I think Nogales, Arizona, is one of the safest places to live in all of America."
Nogales, Sonora, on the Mexican side of the border, has been notorious for drug-related kidnappings, shootouts and beheadings but drug smugglers crossing the border do not routinely target U.S. residents, Bermudez says.
With 500 U.S. Border Patrol agents and countless other law enforcement officers swarming the Arizona side, he said, smugglers try to pass through as quickly and quietly as possible.
"Everywhere you turn, there's some kind of law enforcement looking at you," Bermudez said. "Per capita, we probably have the highest amount of any city in the United States."