Babeu blasts claim that border crime is down

by Jim Cross/KTAR (July 15th, 2011 @ 12:36pm)


PHOENIX -- One of Arizona's most outspoken figures on illegal immigration is taking aim at a "USA Today" report that claims violent crime on the border has been falling for years.

The USA Today report is based on 10 years of crime stats in Arizona, California, New Mexico and Texas. It found that U.S. border cities were safer, on average, than other cities in the four states.

Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu isn't buying it.

"I have families and citizens in my county, 70 miles north of the border, who don't feel safe in their homes," said Babeu.

USA Today found that murders, robberies and kidnappings within 50 miles of the border all dropped over a decade -- a finding that did not impress Babeu.

"We have seen these numbers actually increase outside of the area that they're looking at. What does that prove?" he said.

Babeu said high-speed chases in Pinal County have tripled and drug buses have doubled.

"This is not a time to high-five and say everything is fine," he said, rattling off a list of recent reports from Mexico. "Mayors, 11 mayors went missing, were killed last year in Mexico. Police chiefs, judges, journalists. Who's winning this war on our southern border? It's not the government, it's the cartels."