Turns out it's a bunch of hooey. From the El Paso Times ("Experts question Perry's border crime assessment," Oct. 26):
Stunning borderwide drops in crime that Republican Gov. Rick Perry last week attributed to state border security efforts are more likely campaign calculations than accurate statistics, according to experts and some law enforcement officials.So to calculate big crime reductions, they excluded statistics from all municipalities where most people live, only using stats from unincorporated regions. Then they only calculated statistics for a few counties, and only during periods when law enforcement was conducting five so-called "surge operations," reports the Times.
In news conferences and campaign television commercials last week, Perry lauded state-led border security operations he said reduced crime 60 percent borderwide and kept Texans safe from terrorism.
But Perry's top homeland security official acknowledged that the numbers used to calculate the average crime decrease do not prove a sustained drop in crime from El Paso to Brownsville, do not include crime rates in major border cities, and do not account for other possible reasons for the decrease.
"The smart user and creator of data takes all those things into account, but the politician just uses data and ignores what's not convenient," said UTEP sociology and anthropology Professor Cheryl Howard.
Talk about cooking the numbers!
It's too soon to know for sure, but there's a pretty decent chance when it's all said and done that Operation Linebacker and other border security initiatives didn't reduce border crime at all, not in the big picture. That's partially because they're spending the money on the wrong things, and partially because there's a limit to how effective supply-side enforcement solutions alone can really be at reducing immigration or drug smuggling.