President Trump made a bold claim about the Sun City on Friday, and then repeated it Tuesday during the State of the Union address, as he continues to push for a border wall.
“If you look at El Paso…El Paso was one of the most dangerous cities in the whole country,” he said. “Once the wall was completed, it became one of the safest immediately. It wasn’t like it took five years.”
The White House issued a fact sheet to back up the claims, but the numbers have to do with illegal entries, not crime rates.
According to FBI data, violent crime in El Paso was at its peak in 1996 before dropping in 2006 — two years before the reinforced border wall was built in 2008.
Citing FBI figures, statistics from the Mexican Institute also show that 22 of 23 border communities are safer than similar counties across the nation.
In addition, the CQ Press reveals that El Paso was ranked the 254th city in terms of crime rates in 2008.
“Once again, President Trump is lying to the American people and spreading falsehoods about El Paso to push for a costly and ineffective border wall,” Congresswoman Veronica Escobar tweeted Friday evening.
El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles also disagrees with the president’s comments.
“I don’t think anybody, not the president either, can say for any certainty that a wall in El Paso is what caused crime to drop here,” he said.
KTSM previously asked former El Paso Border Patrol Sector Chief and former Congressman Silvestre Reyes if he thought a wall would make the city safer.
“We proved that the border could be managed effictively,” he said. “We can’t really seal off a border. If we learned anything from the Berlin Wall, it was that you can’t fence off people in or fence people out, but you can manage it to where it can make a dramatic impact in the quality of life.”
Reyes added that he believes there would be more use for cameras and sensors instead of a wall.