Wednesday, November 02, 2011

DPS, border violence, and the boy who cried 'wolf'

Last month when two former generals issued a report (pdf) commissioned by Texas DPS and the Ag Department claiming massive rates of violence on the Texas side of the Rio Grande, Grits responded with a post titled  "Lies, damn lies and border security rhetoric: New study aims to fabricate fear."

In a similar vein, yesterday the Austin Statesman definitively debunked that report, showing that border crime including murders has declined during the period that violence on the Mexico side of the river has surged.  Indeed, because reality doesn't support the politicized claims of "spillover" border violence, DPS has begun keeping its own list that appears to overstate cartel involvement in Texas-side violence:
An American-Statesman analysis of all 14 counties that share a border with Mexico and two dozen border cities shows that violent crime along the Texas side of the Rio Grande fell 3.3 percent between 2006 and 2010.

During the same period, the combined number of murders in the 14 counties fell 33 percent, to 73 in 2010 from 97 in 2006.

Further, most counties and cities situated directly across from the worst of the Mexican violence also saw their crime rates decrease, even as thousands were slaughtered on the Mexican side.

One reason for the gap between what state officials say and what the numbers show is that state agencies increasingly have moved away from using traditional statistics to describe the security situation along the border, and have instead begun using new categories of crime reporting that in some cases have raised questions about accuracy.

The Department of Public Safety, for example, has begun keeping a list of what it considers cartel-related killings in the state.

Yet two Austin-area murders on the list appear to have been caused by a fight over a cellphone, according to court records. The connection of murders in other parts of the state to cartel members have been questioned by border law enforcement chiefs as well.
There's a "boy who cried 'wolf'" aspect to these sorts of claims, particularly after the Governor and DPS overstated crime fighting benefits of nine-figure border-security efforts like Operations "Linebacker" and "Wrangler." I'm glad to see the MSM calling them on it.

Regular readers know the real "spillover" violence along the border is in the other direction, with American gang members crossing the river to commit literally thousands of murders in Mexico. Border security presents real problems, but if we don't define them accurately it becomes impossible to craft effective solutions.

15 comments:

ckikerintulia said...

Yet some Tex. representative, I think it was Todd Staples, had an op. ed. just this past week about crime along the Rio Grande.

Anonymous said...

We don't need to worry about what's going on in Mexico or about the border violence.

Anonymous said...

Outside of protecting the Governor DPS is nothing but a revenue agent for the state. Most won't agree but I don't care it's the truth.

Anonymous said...

659: Take some more drugs and perhaps you will sleep through the drug/crime war. IDIOT>

rodsmith said...

english translation - the Politicians are lieing through their teeth like usual!

Mr Lonely said...

walking here with a smile. take care.. have a nice day ~ =D

Regards,
http://www.lonelyreload.com (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..

Memphis Steve said...

If there's one thing government never does, it's define a problem correctly. Anything that can possibly result in an increased budget will be defined in such a way as to make that happen.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 8:28, you are hilarious. To make such an idiotic statement and then call someone else an idiot. If you believe there is actually a war on crime/drugs you may be very gullible and ill informed. But that’s good news for our politicians, you are just the type of voter they need to continue the downward spiral of desecrating our veterans and destroying our country. And by the way you type of people are doing a great job, keep up the ignorance, our politicians need your votes.

Anonymous said...

With as much violence that occurs in Texas...and considering how much of a budget shortfall Texas is having, why does the state continue to waste so much money on border patrols?

Anonymous said...

Rio Grande Valley, Texas
11/02

AUSTIN - In a letter, the Texas Attorney General is asking President Obama to "aggressively confront" the threat of drug cartel violence spilling across the border. Greg Abbott mentioned incidents in McAllen and Mission, as well as the recent shooting of an Hidalgo County sheriff's deputy. Below is the letter, he sent to the White House:

Dear Mr. President,

Over a year ago, I wrote to you warning of the increasing threat of cartel-related violence spilling across our border with Mexico. At the time, gunfire from cartels in Juarez had crossed over the border into El Paso. Fortunately for El Pasoans, those bullets struck only buildings, rather than bodies. But as I warned back then, we cannot simply rely on good fortune to protect American lives from the ever-present threat of cartel violence on our southern border.

Since the incident in El Paso, the threat from the cartels has only grown—and now the bullets have struck Americans. Just last weekend, in a deadly shootout with cartel operatives, a deputy sheriff in Hidalgo County, Texas, was shot three times. Thankfully the officer survived, but the Hidalgo County Sheriff confirmed that the shooting spilled over from ongoing drug wars involving the Gulf Cartel in Mexico.

Unfortunately, last week’s gun battle in Hidalgo County was not an isolated incident. In January of this year, highway workers repairing a road near a known drug-smuggling route were fired upon from the southern side of the border near Fort Hancock, Texas. In June, Texas law enforcement officers near Abram, Texas, exchanged fire with drug smugglers who attacked them from across the border. In May, U.S. Border Patrol agents near Mission, Texas, also came under fire under similar circumstances. And in September, one man was killed when cartel operatives exchanged gunfire between vehicles driving down a highway in McAllen, Texas.

Anonymous said...

For those who don't know DPS has just received two river boats equiped with machine guns with the possibility of a total of 5 boats. These are the same boats the US Navy SEALS use. These boats will be part of the TX Highway Patrol and will be patroling the Rio Grande river. Something you should check into Grits. Don't know how this will turn out but it can't be good. I can see a massive shoot out happening right there in the middle of the river.

Anonymous said...

Texas must disarm and let Mexico have the border. There is no problem. Stop crying 'wolf' when there is no problem.

Anonymous said...

There is no wolf on the border.

A Texas PO said...

I don't agree that "there is no problem" on the border, but it's been clear for years that the violence has been overstated. You have a much greater chance of being struck by lightning on a clear day like today than you do of being a victim of violence on the border. Unless, of course, you are involved in the drug trade. I get that Hidalgo County was pissed that one of their deputies was shot by an alleged cartel member, but there have been many cops killed far from the border during routine traffic stops. Heck, an officer in Glendale, AZ, was killed last week while helping a probation officer conducting a home visit on a probationer. I am worried about these armed un-manned drones that are going to be flying along the border. I get what the hawks are screaming about, but our focus and our money need to be redirected towards more important things, like EDUCATION! I'll never understand why Texas threw more money at "border protection" (an obvious federal issue) and took money away from our schools. You want to fight the drug problem without legalizing drugs? Education is a good place to start.

Anonymous said...

Think its time to send in the military and put some boot to ass in Mexico instead of worrying about oil countries across seas...