Arizona Attorney General says crime in border counties is down

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PHOENIX –  Concerned over the escalation of violence by Mexican drug cartels, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said, "Mexico is in chaos and I believe we need to take strong action to make sure it doesn't cross the border" on Saturday.

But Goddard is also concerned about the mischaracterization of crime in Arizona.

“There is a perception that we are violent here, when in fact the violent crime rate on our border and in the border counties is lower than it has been in 20 years,” said Goddard.

Goddard called recent comments by Governor Jan Brewer “very irresponsible” and went on to say, "It's not happening in Arizona...what the Governor said recently about beheadings is just wrong and I've called upon her to correct the record is hurting Arizona.”

When asked about the Justice Department lawsuit against SB-1070, Goddard said he asked federal officials not to file the suit. 

In a recent letter to President Obama, Goddard asked the President to focus on the criminal aspects of the border security problem. “I want to make sure the President understands that this is a criminal problem. This is the most serious organized crime threat in the hemisphere, if not in the world” said Goddard.

As Arizona's top law enforcement official, Goddard prefers local solutions to the border security problem, saying: "Instead of spending money training our officers on how to enforce immigration laws let's put the DPS [agents] as a focused strike-force on the border to do everything we can to take out the cartels."