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Booming New Mexico oil country faces challenges with crime, deadly crashes, housing shortages

This April 9, 2014, photo shows oil rigs in the Loco Hills field in Eddy County, near Artesia, New Mexico, one of the most active regions of the Permian Basin. (AP Photo/Jeri Clausing)

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This April 9, 2014, photo shows oil rigs in the Loco Hills field in Eddy County, near Artesia, New Mexico, one of the most active regions of the Permian Basin. (AP Photo/Jeri Clausing)

CARLSBAD, N.M. - In the southeastern New Mexico town of Carlsbad, a boom in oil production has led to challenges.

The discovery of rich oil fields in the state and advances in drilling technology have transformed once-quiet cities like Carlsbad into boom towns.

As a result, the city of 26,000 people is struggling to keep up with its fast-growing population and the accompanying challenges, from housing shortages, higher crime rates and a spike in deadly accidents between big rigs and cars on narrow country roads.

The upswing mirrors those in North Dakota and Montana where oil discoveries turned towns into thriving cities virtually overnight.

Despite the growing pains of New Mexico's boom, the oil industry points to the economic benefits it can bring in the form of jobs, business development and taxes.

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