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Did the border fence make El Paso a safer city?

Both President Trump and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton claimed earlier this month that the border fence running through El Paso has greatly reduced the city's crime rate.

When the president visited the Texas border in McAllen on Jan. 10, Paxton told him that El Paso used to have one of America's highest crime rates but since the border fence went up the city now has some of the nation's lowest crime rates.

President Trump repeated Paxton's claim in a speech to the American Farm Bureau Federation on Jan. 14, saying about El Paso, "It went from being one of the most dangerous cities in the country to one of the safest cities in the country overnight."

FactCheck.org called both men's assertions false. In an article on its website, FactCheck pointed out El Paso had the third lowest violent crime rate among the country's biggest cities in 2005, 2006 and 2007, before construction of the border fence began in El Paso in 2008.

In addition, the article reported that in the years while the fence was being built and immediately after it was completed, the Sun City's violent crime rate actually went up by about 5.5 percent.

FBI figures also show El Paso has enjoyed a substantially lower overall crime rate than most other big cities for decades, long before there was a border fence, and even long before the local Border Patrol crackdown on illegal immigration, known as "Operation Hold the Line," began in the early 1990s.

Border Patrol figures do show that since the fence was completed in 2009, apprehensions of undocumented immigrants in the El Paso sector have dropped substantially.

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