Statistics from the Government Accountability Office show the violent crime rate along the border in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas is down. (Source: GAO)
While border crime might be down, it is still higher than the rest of Arizona. (Source: CBS 5 News)
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
The Secretary of Homeland Security claims crime at the Arizona-Mexico border is down. Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer says it's up.
It turns out that a new report by the federal government shows they're both right.
Congress asked the Government Accountability Office for some numbers on crimes at the border. They saw incidents of violent crimes skyrocketing in Mexico and had concerns about spillover in the U.S.
They looked at 24 border counties in four states and gathered information from 37 law enforcement agencies.
The report states currently there is no common federal definition of "spillover crime," which makes it tough to track violent crimes that are connected to Mexico.
So the GAO looked at incidents of violent crime from the FBI's Uniform Crime Reporting program.
Statistics show the violent crime rate along the border in California, Arizona, New Mexico and Texas is down.
In Arizona it's dropped the most, plunging 33 percent from 2004 to 2011.
The Government Accountability Office also looked at counties within those four states that are not along the border, and found crime is also down.
In Arizona, non-border county crimes are down 22 percent in the same seven-year time period.
However, the statistics show something different in Arizona not seen in any of the other border states, and something Brewer has been saying all along.
The violent crime stats in Arizona's border counties are higher than the rest of the state. They have been that way for years. In California, New Mexico and Texas, crime along the border communities is lower than the rest of the state.
There is no reason given for that aspect of the report, and the GAO is not making any recommendations.
There's an effort now under way to define "spillover" crimes in order to come up with more accurate numbers.
Copyright 2013 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.
Thursday, September 11 2014 5:21 AM EDT2014-09-11 09:21:40 GMT
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