AUSTIN (KXAN) - Organized crime groups, specifically Mexican cartels, continue to infiltrate Texas and their growth is among the risks the Texas Department of Public Safety released in its annual report.
The crime rate is down 25 percent compared to a decade ago in the state, but DPS said Mexican cartel crime - the trafficking of drugs, guns and people - is hard to document.
"A lot of the violence, all of our violent crime, is really driven by the drug trade," said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo. "We are focusing on trying to find and identify the heads of those organizations."
DPS said six of the top eight cartels in Mexico now have operational networks in Texas.
Another threat climbing the charts is the rising number of vehicle crashes. More than 3,300 people died on Texas roads last year, and half of those accidents involved alcohol.
Protecting Texas' long and vulnerable border from terrorists is also a priority for law enforcement.
"The threat of terrorism is always real and we are always vigilant with our federal partners to keep our city safe," Acevedo said.
Other threats included in the report are natural disasters, cyber attacks and public health threats like West Nile Virus.
Due to the sheer size of Texas, the geography and growing population, DPS said the state faces some threats to a greater degree than others.
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