CNN, January 17, 2012


…In this sprawling metropolis, the brutal conflicts between drug cartels and government troops are both strangely absent and omnipresent. They are nowhere to be found and everywhere you look…

...Murder rates in Mexico's capital are half the national rate of 18 per 100,000 residents, and are lower than homicide rates in U.S. cities like New Orleans and Washington. But that hasn't stifled fears that something bigger could be brewing.

The city saw more than 120 killings related to organized crime between January and September last year, according to Mexico's Attorney General's Office. In the neighboring state of Mexico, the number was much higher, nearly 600…

…Is it only a matter of time before organized crime strengthens its grip and violence grows?

"There's always the specter of that happening, because there's nothing to guarantee that it won't," 

says Eric L. Olson, a security expert at the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington.

Still, it's important not to blow things out of proportion, he says.

"You're probably safer in Mexico City, frankly, than you are in New Orleans."

He describes a recent trip to Mexico City, when he walked through the central square in the Coyoacan neighborhood -- known for its scenic cobblestone streets and famous former residents, like artists Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera.

"It was like paradise."



Read the full article here.