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.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.
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.
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.