Local police chief says border not more dangerous than anywhere else

Local News

PHARR, Texas (KVEO) — The Rio Grande Valley saw one of its highest records for immigrant encounters this year.

Gov. Greg Abbott and Democratic candidate Beto O’Rourke paint two different pictures of the border.

Abbott has said the influx of immigrants crossing the border is making communities in the area dangerous. 

In an interview with ValleyCentral on November, 18, O’Rourke disagreed with the governor’s assessment.

“I also live on the border in El Paso, Texas, and there’s nowhere in the country that I feel safer than I do in El Paso, or Brownsville, or McAllen, or other border communities,” O’Rourke said.

Violent crime increased about 5% across the nation last year according to the FBI. Pharr police chief Andy Harvey said the Valley saw some increase in crime as well.

“What I see here is nothing out of proportion than what we’re seeing around the country,” Harvey said. “As a matter of fact, we can make the case that it might be safer in a lot of cases.”

According to the DPS crime report for 2020, the Rio Grande Valley had similar levels of violent crime to Travis County despite having 23 thousand more people in the area.

Chief Harvey credits the unique policing situation along the border for those comparatively low crime numbers.

“We have a very good partnership, or relationship, with not only our local police departments here across the Valley but also our state and federal partners. And I gotta tell you, we don’t see that a lot,” Harvey said.

Calling attention to that increase only in the Valley and not in other parts does hurt the region’s economy.

“There were conferences and businesses that canceled their trips down here because of the perception of what was going on down here. And I think that rhetoric sometimes hurts us,” he said.

Harvey said people who are concerned about crime in the area can always talk to local law enforcement for their opinion.

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