USA Today says violence declined last year in Mexico’s border cities, and commerce is returning to even the most drug-ravaged cities, Ciudad Juárez and Tijuana to the west. The paper sees “a glimmer of hope for a vast region that many had left for dead like so many thousands of Mexican murder victims.” Since 2011, the University of San Diego’s Trans-Border Institute has tracked a “notable and important” leveling in the grinding cycle of killing throughout Mexico. Institute researchers found that organized crime-related murder dropped 21 percent in 2012 — the first time those numbers fell since the drug wars escalated in 2007. That trend was especially pronounced in Mexico’s six border states, which saw a 32 percent drop in organized crime killings.
The declines come as President Obama and Congress attempt to overhaul the nation’s immigration laws, with the security of America’s southwestern border with Mexico being a critical component in the complicated negotiations. “We have seen a real change,” Department of Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, adding that the security improvements are “not a finished product.” “I think there is a lot of reason for hope,” said White House “drug czar” Gil Kerlikowske.