PHARR, Texas (KVEO) — On Wednesday Governor Greg Abbott painted a picture of a violent border region in his talk while in the Rio Grande Valley.
He used the press conference with former President Donald Trump to lay out his reasoning on why a wall on the border of Texas and Mexico is needed.
“People along the border are having their lives turned upside down. I cannot tell you the number of stories that I’ve heard from people who have had guns put to their heads, or guns brandished at them in their ranches and their homes and their neighborhoods,” said Abbott.
All four counties that comprise the Rio Grande Valley were removed from the Governor’s disaster declaration after county officials disagreed with Governor Abbott that an immigration disaster was taking place in their areas.
Police departments on the border said they have not heard those same stories that Governor Abbott said he had heard from ranch owners.
“Here in Pharr, I know of no viable information that has occurred,” said Pharr Police Chief Andy Harvey. “Now listen, anything is possible. But all I can tell you is what I know, and I have not received any reports that that has occurred in our city.”
Jose Loredo with the Brownsville Police Department was not available to speak with KVEO on camera, but in a phone call he told KVEO that to his knowledge the department had not received any calls similar to what Governor Abbott talked about.
Governor Abbott also said the border had become more dangerous than it had been in previous years.
“It is a far more dangerous situation than it has ever been. The people of Texas have been pleading for us to be able to step up and restore safety and security in their lives,” said Abbott.
Harvey said that crimes had actually been going down in recent years.
“It’s really a relatively safe place,” said Harvey while talking about the Rio Grande Valley. “And when you compare apples to apples I think, again right, we haven’t seen an increase in crime. In fact, we’ve seen decreases in crime.”
Data from the Texas Department of Public Safety back that statement up.
The total number of crimes in Hidalgo County has been decreasing for years. Statistics have not been released for 2021 yet because the year is not over, but between 2018 and 2019 the total number of crimes decreased county-wide in Hidalgo County.
Murders and auto thefts were the only crimes that DPS had on their report that increased from 2018 to 2019.
In 2020, murder, assault and auto theft all increased from their numbers in 2019, while the total number of crimes committed decreased. Since those crimes were committed in 2020, they were before President Joe Biden was inaugurated in January 2021.