The fact that crime is down in Nogales may be a surprise to some people, but not to those who live here.
Violent crimes like assault, burglary and robbery are actually down considerably. What that tells us is Nogales is increasingly a safer place to be.
Located along the US/Mexico border, the city of Nogales, Arizona has its share of perception problems.
But if you ask anyone who lives here, they'll tell you those problems certainly didn't start here.
"I tell them that's bull crap," says Geordy Ramos, a downtown Nogales merchant. "That's all lies."
"What's the problem here?" KOLD asks 65 year old Carlos Lamas. "It's the news, the news...the Gringo people they think it's very dangerous (near) Mexico."
16 year old Odette Guerra has heard the same concerns from friends in other parts of the state.
"Do they think it's dangerous at times?" KOLD asks Guerra.
"Yeah, a lot of times," she says.
"Why is that?"
"Because we're so close to the border and the kidnappings they hear about across the line," Guerra says.
Truth is, kidnappings are very rare in Nogales, Arizona: only two cases in each of the last two years.
As for murders, the city had just one case in 2011 and one in 2012.
Overall, crime went down a whopping 19 percent in Nogales last year.
Unfortunately, for visitors and for business, perception is still reality.
"I don't really know what stops people from coming," says downtown merchant Geordy Ramos. "It's a great place to be here in Nogales. The stores are great, the prices are great."
For people like Lucrecia Mercado, Nogales will always be home.
"They say why live here when you can live anywhere in the world?" she says, holding the hands of her two young sons.
And while she's aware of the violence south of the border, she realizes Nogales is where she wants to be.
"People just need to understand it can happen anywhere. It can happen in Tucson. It can happen in Green Valley where it's supposedly the safest," Mercado says. "I came from San Diego back home because I love it here."
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