""The levels of violence that the country is experiencing are very serious," Medina Mora told a gathering of advertising executives. "But they are much less than we had 15 years ago."
The drug-related violence has scared away tourists and prompted some commentators to warn that Mexico risks collapse. But Medina Mora said the country registered about 11 homicides per 100,000 residents last year, down from 16 in 1997.
Medina Mora pointed out that the country's overall homicide rate was lower than that of neighbors such as El Salvador and Guatemala, and even pockets of the United States. He noted, correctly, that Washington, D.C., and Louisiana have more homicides per capita than Mexico.
The prosecutor's presentation was dismissed by some analysts and activists as so much spin. But his comments reflect the anxieties of a government that has struggled to convince residents that it is winning its 2 1/2 -year-old war against drug gangs and making headway against crime and impunity in general. "