EL PASO, Texas (KFOX14) — During President Donald Trump’s visit to the McAllen border on Thursday, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said the border barrier helped the crime rate decrease in El Paso.
KFOX14 looked into the Federal Bureau of Investigation crime statistics for El Paso County before and after the border fence was built.
KFOX14 found the number of violent crimes has fluctuated and remained around the same. Different factors can play into the statistics.
“El Paso used to have one of the highest crime rates in America. After that fence went up and separated Juarez, which still has (an) extremely high crime rate, the crime rate in El Paso is some of the lowest in the country,” said Paxton at the roundtable discussion involving Trump.
Construction for the steel border fence started in February 2008 and ended in late 2009, according to retired U.S. Border Patrol Chief, Victor Manjarrez.
A number of factors can contribute to a city's crime rate.
It is unclear what type of crime the attorney general was referencing.
KFOX14 looked into the FBI’s data for violent crimes in El Paso.
A violent crime is defined by the FBI as murder, non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.
We started with the year 2005, three years before the barrier was built.
The FBI database shows there were 210 cases of violent crimes in 2005.
That number climbed to 310 cases in 2010, when the barrier was already in place.
That number dropped to 250 in 2011.
That means in 2005, there was a crime rate of 35.4 percent per capita of 100,000.
The number then shoots up to 47.6 in 2010 per capita of 100,000, then back down to 37 in 2011.
In 2016, the crime rate slightly increased to 39 per capita of 100,000 people.
In a September visit, El Paso Border Patrol Sector Chief Agent Aaron A. Hull spoke about crime before Operation Hold the Line in 1993.
He said within one year of its implementation, crime statistics across the city of El Paso were reduced 50 percent across the board.
Below is his speech from September, where Hull talked about the construction of a new steel bollard wall and replacement of an existing fence in the Chihuahuita neighborhood.