There is a very important link at the top right corner of this page (and at the end of this editorial) to newly released FBI statistics on border crimes, which we wish our entire region — and the rest of the country — would study in earnest.
Because it shows how few crimes are actually committed in border cities, compared to other cities, like Detroit, Washington, D.C., Chicago and Dallas.
Case in point: The murder rate in McAllen in 2015 was 1.4 per 100,000 population. It was 1.6 in Brownsville; 2.5 in El Paso, and 3.1 in Laredo — compared to the national average of 4.4 per 100,000 population. Yet Detroit had a murder rate of 43.8; Washington, D.C. had 24.1; Chicago was 17.5 and Houston was 13.3.
The aggravated assault rate in McAllen for 2015 was 59.3 per 100,000 population — less than half of Brownsville’s rate, which was 157.9 — which still was incredibly low compared to Detroit’s 1,123.5; 598.6 for the nation’s capital, and Dallas’ 302.8 rate.
All four border cities — McAllen, El Paso, Laredo and Brownsville — also had far lower robbery rates at 36.3; 59.8; 63.2 and 83.3 per 100,000 population, respectively. While Detroit’s rate was 513.5; Washington, D.C.’s was 506.4, and Houston’s at 451.7.
Nevertheless, our border cities take a terrible bashing because of an unfair, yet politically popular, stigma that there is rampant violence and criminal mayhem here. Yet these statistics show that simply is not true.
As U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar, D-Laredo, said (in a savvy move last week by releasing these stats): “The border is often painted in an unfair light. The people who characterize the border as a violent and crime-ridden place often have never visited or lived here. The FBI’s official crime statistics, for yet another year, demonstrate that the border is home to some of the safest cities in the United States. ... These unfounded stereotypes about the border have the potential to hurt business and we need to stop this misinformation.”
Therefore we urge more members of Congress — particularly those spewing negative rhetoric — as well as leaders from other cities to regularly come visit and see for themselves. Talk to our leaders, our business owners and our economic drivers about how we’re focused, as an entire region, toward growth, industry, education and economically bettering ourselves. We aren’t the lawless place some fear.
We realize we’re preaching to the choir, but perhaps you know someone who is doubtful. If so, please pass this link: //cuellar.house.gov/uploadedfiles/ucr_charts_1.pdf.