It's always interesting to hear how people throughout Mexico see the rest of the country, and drug violence in "other parts."
In one small city in central Mexico, which has experienced a rash of killings of late, a resident recently expressed his concerns about his city turning into Ciudad Juarez. "Here, we have beheadings now. You don't even get those up there."
Actually, you do. But his sentiments were very similar to those I've encountered throughout the country in the past two or so years. In Ciudad Juarez in 2008, people were saying that the situation is bad, but at least it's not like Tijuana. In Culiacan on various occasions, locals have expressed their comfort in the fact that although Sinaloa is bad vis a vis crime, at least it's not as bad as Mexico City. In Mexico City, residents look at you in awe/horror/shock if you tell them you're heading to Sinaloa or Ciudad Juarez.
The homicide numbers, of course, tell the real story of just how bad a place is; but that doesn't necessarily change people's perceptions. Almost always, until things get really really bad and out of control and fear takes complete control, crime and security tend to be bigger and more serious issues in "other parts."