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  • Spillover Border Violence: Fact or Fiction?

    Last night, NBC Nightly News continued its series “Mexico: The War Next Door.” In its latest segment, NBC highlighted the much discussed and debated issue of cross-border violence and drug trafficking in Texas.

    Flying overhead in helicopters with officials from the Texas Department of Public Safety Air Patrol, the film crew showed images of high-speed chases on U.S. highways and men hiking through Texas backlands with 80-pound bales of marijuana on their backs. The story reports:

    Federal officers here, who spend every day in the sky, say drug trafficking in this area has increased dramatically in just the last couple of years, and they see no end in sight.

    Reports like these, coupled with high-profile cases of violence along the border (such as murders David Hartley on the Rio Grande’s Falcon Lake and of Arizona rancher Robert Krentz last year), have created the impression that the southwest border has become overrun with violence spilling over from Mexico. Yet the facts seemingly tell a different story.

    According to FBI crime data assembled by USA Today, crime along the southwest border has actually been falling for years. Likewise, statistically, U.S. cities along the border actually appear to be safer than other cities within the same state. When Heritage experts Jim Carafano and Ray Walser met with the Border Patrol in the Laredo sector of the U.S.–Mexico border in October, agents there could not specify any acts of spillover violence in the past six months.

    Emphasizing this fact, in April, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said that those who claim that the U.S.–Mexico border is “overrun or out of control” are simply trying to score political points.

    Instead, part of what may be happening is that enhanced enforcement efforts to secure the border on the ground and in the air mean we are seeing more incursions and capturing more of it on film. Likewise, the reported uptick in aggressive of behavior by outlaws also reflects upon our national inability to make headway against chronic drug consumption and abuse habits that provides the profits they seek.

    Of course, none of this is to say that more should not be done to enhance U.S.–Mexico border security. For one thing, continuing a parochial U.S. border strategy focused on a single international boundary line alone is not enough. Instead, the U.S. should work actively on both sides of the border, reinforcing law enforcement and immigration-control capacity on our side while cooperating with Mexico to build security on their side of the border.

    In the long run, the key metric for success will not be the number of Border Patrol agents or miles of fencing along the border but rather our ability to restore a sense of security by strengthening the institutions of law enforcement, intelligence, and justice and building a stronger civil society and more resilient communities.

    Border security issues deserve more than journalistic sensationalism or political axe-grinding.

    Posted in Security [slideshow_deploy]

    6 Responses to Spillover Border Violence: Fact or Fiction?

    1. JeffC says:

      "our ability to restore a sense of security by strengthening the institutions of law enforcement, intelligence, and justice and building a stronger civil society and more resilient communities."

      Really drank alot of the coolaide didn't you …

      Good lord, "strengthening institutions" ? Put up a fence and beef up the Border Patrol and all of those other wonderful ideals will turn out just fine … because you can't measure any of those other ideals but you can see and fence and the extra troops behind it … metrics ? How do you measure a stronger institution ? They didn't expalin that in school did they …

      Weak tea here at Heritage … I would have expected much better …

    2. nick says:

      Did it ever occur to anyone that the number of reported crimes in border areas may be going down because there are less and less legal citizens to report the crime?

    3. zff says:

      What is this? I thought this was Heritage, not Media Matters or Think Progress.

      Sorry, I don't buy it. If the FBI statistics say crime in border areas are falling then either a) the statistics are wrong or being misinterpreted b) crimes simply are not being reported or detected or c) the violence is spilling over further and further into the border states and/or the illegals are simply going further north and bypassing the border cities. To say that crime near the border is declining or not bad is to deny reality as reported by thousands of eyewitnesses, including those who actually live on the border.

      "When Heritage experts Jim Carafano and Ray Walser met with the Border Patrol in the Laredo sector of the U.S.–Mexico border in October, agents there could not specify any acts of spillover violence in the past six months."

      Oh, wow, I'm sold! Not. Give me a break. Some agents in one sector of the border saying they couldn't "specify" (how vague) acts of spillover violence in a mere six months proves zilch.

      "Likewise, the reported uptick in aggressive of behavior by outlaws also reflects upon our national inability to make headway against chronic drug consumption and abuse habits that provides the profits they seek."

      This is bull, first off because drug abuse has declined in the U.S (there are slight uptics and dips now and then, but by far and overall there is less illegal drug abuse now then there was in the 70's, 80's and 90's), second because it basically blames the victims for the crime (hey, it's not the poisoners fault, it's the poisoned because he or she took it!), and third if these Mexican drug pushers didn't being their poisons into our neighborhoods, cities or towns, people wouldn't be able to get hooked on them in the first place. There isn't any real "demand" for illegal drugs, because the demand is created by the supply, you can't compare drug addiction to people wanting new stereos and IPods.

      "Instead, the U.S. should work actively on both sides of the border, reinforcing law enforcement and immigration-control capacity on our side while cooperating with Mexico to build security on their side of the border."

      Bullcrap, a heavily fortified border and patrolled security wall IS the only way to reinforce law enforcement and immigration-control capacity on our side and it is NOT our job to build Mexicos security, fight their nations crime and basically do their dirty work for them.

      "Instead, part of what may be happening is that enhanced enforcement efforts to secure the border on the ground and in the air mean we are seeing more incursions and capturing more of it on film."

      Unbelievable. Did it ever occur to you that the reason that the enhanced enforcement efforts occurred in the first place is because there was a need to combat upswings in border violence? It's more like we are seeing the actual violence going on that "FBI statistics" never will be able to catch.

      When Heritage is siding with a slander against conservatives issued by Janet of the DHS, something is very wrong. First Heritage supports RomneyCare, then TARP and now this vapid bleeding heart left wing "solution" to illegal immigration. The heck???

    4. carol,az says:

      Answer :FACT the border is a full-blown war.
      Description: Mass genocide by terrorism on Mexico's population.
      Solution: Secure our USA border by any means necessary.

      The article that must be written is how to give Texas the help they need ASAP.
      This is not a video game they're playing
      Meanwhile here's another fact:
      We don't really care how many people are killed as the cartel terrorist duke it out in MX.
      It's been going on for almost four years, and for decades in S America.
      Yes,, .thousands of bodies ( 45,000) of them dumped in public squares, hanging from bridges, mass graves, dumped in the desert, kidnappings, mass executions and mass shoot outs by the MX police on the Cartel pay roll.
      GOING THERE TO FIX THE PROBLEM will not FIX THE problem.
      WE must secure our border which is why AZ is building its own fence with private donations and find a way to help Texas.

    5. RebeccaC says:

      When I think of "more secure borders", fences, walls and "a stronger military presence", I think of Berlin.

      Just sayin'.

      Not sure what the best answer is, but I'm thinking that it's not a taller fence.

    6. carol,az says:

      update:12/04/11
      Link: http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2011/12/interceptor

      (PLEASE EMBED VIDEO)

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