“Washington has failed miserably when it comes to securing our borders. While the federal government refuses to protect our borders, Arizona taxpayers continue to pay the price in the form of increased crime and drugs in our communities.”
“[T]he situation along the border has changed significantly. In years past, groups of illegal aliens crossing the southern border tied to drug or smuggling cartels were the exception to the rule. Today, such ties are the rule. The lawless situation in northern Mexico largely driven by drug cartels is fueling lawlessness north of the border.”
Both of the principal contenders in Arizona’s hotly contested primary campaign to choose a Republican Senate candidate believe that an insecure border is contributing to “increased crime and drugs” and “lawlessness” in their state.
The Arizona state government’s Department of Public Safety publishes ten years’ worth of Crime in Arizona Reports detailing criminal activity in each of Arizona’s fifteen counties. We looked at the ten counties that make up the southernmost half of the state, and would thus be most susceptible to any cross-border activity. (These ten counties also comprise 89 percent of Arizona’s population, according to U.S. Census data, so the statewide trend is not much different than what we observe here.)
We found that despite the candidates’ views of the border, measures of violent crime are substantially lower now than they were a decade ago in Arizona’s counties closest to the border.
Homicides in these counties are down 17.9 percent from 2002 to 2011, from 363 to 298.
Robberies in these counties are down 11.6 percent from 2002 to 2011, from 7,744 to 6,842.
Cases of aggravated assault in these counties are down 24.5 percent from 2002 to 2011, from 17,837 to 13,471.
Rep. Flake says that the rising crime reflects an “increasingly dangerous” situation that is so bad that “border security must be addressed before other [immigration] reforms are tackled.” We would ask him, and his opponent, where they are seeing violent crime worsening in Arizona as a result of an insecure border. Their own state government’s data tell a very different story.
Here are the tables of data, drawn from the Crime in Arizona Reports, used to make the above charts.
By Adam Isacson