Areas on the U.S. side of the southwest U.S.-Mexican border are “some of the safest communities in America,” says Gene Garza, the director of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) — an extension of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) — in Laredo, Texas. The Laredo Field Office maintains the largest amount of commercial traffic throughout the entire U.S.-Mexican border, processing more than $104 billion in merchandise in 2010 alone.
Testifying before the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border and Maritime Security Tuesday, during a hearing entitled, “Using Technology to Facilitate Trade and Enhance Security at Our Ports of Entry,” Garza said his analysis stems from the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), which document crime statistics in the U.S.
“In fiscal year 2011, CBP seized 5 million pounds of narcotics, including nearly 370,000 pounds seized at the ports of entry. These numbers demonstrate the effectiveness of our layered approach to security,” Garza testified. “Violent crime in border communities has remained flat or fallen in the past decade, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) Uniform Crime Report, and some of the safest communities in America are at the border. In fact, violent crimes in Southwest border counties overall have dropped by more than 40 percent and are currently among the lowest in the Nation per capita, even as drug-related violence has significantly increased in Mexico.”
Naturally, DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano backed Garza’s profession that the U.S.-Mexican border harbors some of the safest communities in the country. “Violent crime in U.S. border communities has also remained flat or fallen over the past decade, and statistics have shown that some of the safest communities in America are along the border,” Napolitano stated, in an April 25 testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
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