Juarez Bullet Hits Texas Woman, Fueling Fears of Spillover Violence

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    A woman in El Paso, Texas, has been injured by a stray bullet fired in Mexico during a gunfight between police and suspected criminals, in an incident that adds to concerns about spillover violence.

    Maria Romero (pictured) was pushing a child in a stroller when a bullet, fired across the border in Ciudad Juarez, struck her in the leg. She was released from hospital after treatment for minor injuries (see video report from El Diario de Juarez, below).

    While stray bullets from Ciudad Juarez, which lies directly across the Rio Grande river from El Paso, have hit buildings in El Paso before, they have never struck a person, according to the Associated Press. Authorities estimate the .223 caliber bullet was fired from more than half a mile away.

    InSight Crime Analysis

    The shooting incident contributes to fears that violence is “spilling over” the Mexico border into the US. However, El Paso remains one of the safest cities in the US, with one study on 2010 crime statistics giving it the lowest crime ranking of any city over 500,000. Juarez, on the other hand, had been ranked as the world’s most violent city for several years before security improvements in 2011 pushed it to second place.

    This vast discrepancy between the neighboring cities undermines repeated warnings by US politicians about spillover violence. As InSight Crime has argued, these often seem to reflect political opportunism, or the fears of the population, more than a real danger.

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