Crime: Good News in US, Bad News in Mexico
Good News: Crime is declining in the U.S., see chart above.
Bad News: Crime is increasing dramatically in Mexico, especially for murders related to drug trafficking (5,637), which more than doubled in 2008 from the previous year. To put Mexico's murders in perspective, consider that there have been "only" 4,224 American war causalities in Iraq during the almost six years since the war began in 2003 (see chart below). Becoming the "Murder Capital of the World" is the price Mexico is paying for the U.S. "war on drugs" (see WSJ journal article here).
Update: QT and Misterjosh object to the graph above comparing Mexican murders in 2008 to American deaths in Iraq since 2003, see the comments section of this post. Here's an alternative graph below to illustrate how serious the murder problem is in Mexico, showing the 117% increase in murders from 2007 (2,477) to 2008 (5,367).
There are certainly differences in population between Mexico (approx. 108m) and the U.S. (approx. 300m) that distort a comparison, and there is also a difference in time periods: one year for murders in Mexico (2008) vs. 5 years of American deaths in Iraq, but the point was to make a comparison to put 5,367 murders in some context (see CSM story here that makes the same comparison).
The graph below is another way to put 5,367 Mexican murders in a single year (2008) in context, by comparing it to the previous year. Not sure, but I would bet that the +117% increase might make Mexico #1 for 2008, in terms of the greatest percentage increase from 2007?
Thanks to James Hohman for the FBI link.