The frenzy of gangland violence that drew international attention to the border city of Nuevo Laredo, Mex., for much of the year has finally abated, says the Houston Chronicle. Officials credit the relative peace to key arrests and more effective police work. Still, the bloodshed that has gripped this city of 400,000 for more than two years continues at levels that would be a crisis most anywhere else. More than 30 homicides, most of them gangland connected, have been recorded since early September. They include the shooting death of a U.S. citizen Oct. 26 in an apparent carjacking.
Serious crime, including murder has dropped by 75 percent since a June crackdown. The recent narcotics-related killings have been out of the public eye, the victims’ bodies often turning up on the city’s edges. Such slayings have a long history along this key smuggling route, and many residents shrug them off. Though the numbers pale in comparison with past years, American tourists are returning. “People are getting their confidence back because of all the police on the street,” said Gerardo Martinez, a dental technician at an office where half the patients are from as far away as Houston and Dallas. “There isn’t the fear there was before. Now we are just waiting for the Christmas season.” The most important commercial border crossing between the U.S. and Mexico, Nuevo Laredo has symbolized the Mexican government’s struggle with the country’s powerful narcotics mafias.