It's hard to measure whether the violent crime from Mexico has spilled over, or may spill over, across the border.
A new GAO report says state and local law enforcement agencies do not track spillover crime because they lack a common definition.
But what numbers there are, at least hints it may not be spilling over much. if at all.
According to the report along the Arizona border the violent crime rate decreased 33%. For the rest of the state, violent crime dropped 22% from 2004 to 2011.
"There is no spillover," says Nogales Mayor Arturo Garino. "They are using it as an instrument for immigration reform."
According to the report, "we spoke with Chamber of Commerce officials. They all stated they have not seen spillover violence from Mexico."
But they added it has hindered economic growth and tourism.
The Chambers called the concern over spillover a "perception."
The entire report does not offer solutions to the issues but points out problems.
But 27 of the 37 state and local enforcement agencies involved in border crime said "it would be at least somewhat useful to have a common definition of spillover crime."
An Arizona sheriff, who is not named in the report, says "they are not more concerned about spillover crime because their county has not experienced any."
Nogales Mayor Garino says the concern over spillover crime has created a "culture of fear that has hurt our community."
He also says "that culture of fear is not created by Nogales or by the people in Mexico. It's created by politicians wanting to run for office."
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