Jesus Rios and July Ray find that more Mexicans perceive gangs and drug trafficking in their neighborhoods.
Excerpt: The torture and murder of a top anti-drug official and his associates near Cancun, Mexico, two weeks ago is another macabre reminder of the epidemic of drug-related crime that continues to threaten Mexico's stability. Mexico's President Felipe Calderon said in an interview last week with Excelsior that drug-related violence claimed more than 6,000 lives last year, which is more than double the count in 2007.
Violence has soared since Calderon declared war on drug traffickers in late 2006 and deployed tens of thousands of troops to combat the cartels; much of the surge is viewed as backlash against the crackdown. Bloodshed across the U.S. border has prompted some experts in recent months to issue dire warnings about Mexico's future stability and the potential security risks to the United States.
High levels of corruption in law enforcement and the judiciary continue to hinder the Calderon administration's success in its war, but Mexico's president remains committed and seeks further cooperation from the United States. "This common problem of organized crime, terrorism, drug trafficking, which is an international problem, we can fight together," Calderon said after meeting then-President-elect Barack Obama in mid-January. "The more secure Mexico is, the more secure the United States will be."