Southwest Border Violence: Issues in Identifying and Measuring Spillover Violence
There has been a recent increase in the level of drug trafficking-related violence within and between the drug trafficking organizations in Mexico. This violence has generated concern among U.S. policy makers that the violence in Mexico might spill over into the United States. Currently, U.S. federal officials deny that the recent increase in drug trafficking-related violence in Mexico has resulted in a spillover into the United States, but they acknowledge that the prospect is a serious concern. The most recent threat assessment indicates that the Mexican drug trafficking organizations pose the greatest drug trafficking threat to the United States, and this threat is driven partly by U.S. demand for drugs. When defining and analyzing changes in drug trafficking-related violence within the United States to determine whether there has been (or may be in the future) any spillover violence, critical elements include who may be implicated in the violence (both perpetrators and victims), what type of violence may arise, when violence may appear, and where violence may occur (both along the SWB and in the nation's interior). Currently, no comprehensive, publicly available data exist that can definitively answer the question of whether there has been a significant spillover of drug trafficking-related violence into the United States.
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