A USA Today reporter from their Austin Texas bureau wrote a piece in the Times last week titled “Did border fence lower crime rates in El Paso?”.
“In his remarks, Paxton [the Texas attorney general] said El Paso had a high crime rate before the fence was constructed and that the rate of crime dropped substantially after it was completed.
That was not the case.”
Earlier in the article she told us that the attorney general had not specified which iteration of our border fence he was referring to.
Because he referenced border barriers erected under former president George W. Bush she concluded that he was talking about fencing authorized by congressional act in 2006. She pointed out that the construction started in 2008 and was finished by mid-2009.
She wrote further:
“From 2006 to 2011–two years before the fence was built to two years after–the violent crime rate in El Paso increased by 17 percent.”
Would it be too much to ask her to tell us where she came up with that number? Shouldn’t a reporter cite her sources?
This chart came from the El Paso police department’s 2011 annual report:
It was the case
According to the El Paso police department crime rates went down after the fence was built. In fact the chart does not substantiate her claim of a 17 percent increase.
I don’t know if the reporter has ever lived in El Paso. Those of us that lived here during that period of time know that property crime rates dropped significantly after the fence was built.
We deserve better