Office of the Governor Rick Perry

Perry: Border Security Operations Are Unparalleled Success

Crime Down 60 Percent Across the Border

Tuesday, October 17, 2006  •  Press Release

AUSTIN – Gov. Rick Perry today said state-led law enforcement efforts to secure the Texas-Mexico border have been an unparalleled success in reducing criminal activity.

“The cumulative results of Operation Rio Grande border surge operations prove beyond a shadow of doubt that when you add manpower, vehicles and technology resources to attack ruthless, transnational criminal enterprises and gangs all crime goes down dramatically, the border is more secure and our communities are safer, the fight against drug gangs and other criminal operations, crime goes down dramatically,” Perry said.

“With Operation Rio Grande, we set out to prove to Washington, D.C., that the recipe for a secure border involves committing local, state and federal resources in high intensity joint operations aimed at securing common crossing points and providing an enhanced law enforcement presence.”

Operation Rio Grande involved law enforcement actions in five sectors along the border: Del Rio, Laredo, El Paso, Big Bend and Valley Star, representing 27 Texas counties.

“The results have been astonishing,” Perry said. “Borderwide, we experienced an average crime reduction of 60 percent because of intensive operations under Operation Rio Grande.” Perry said.

“This is exactly why I have asked the legislature for an additional $100 million: so we can continue our successful anti-crime operations over an extended period of time with more boots on the ground, more weapons, and enhanced technology tools like live-scan fingerprinting and the TDEX database that connects law enforcement statewide to instantaneous, up-to-date information on individuals they stop and apprehend.”

The model has proved so successful that Perry recently announced that his office is providing $10 million to Harris and surrounding counties to replicate the Operation Rio Grande strategy there to combat increased crime rates in that part of the state.

Perry was joined at the announcement by several border sheriffs at the Border Security Operations Center, a facility Perry directed the state to create to coordinate federal, state and local law enforcement intelligence on criminal activities along the border.

Perry said the strategy works because the state measures success by crime deterrence, unlike the federal government which measures success in numbers of arrests.

“By providing DPS strike teams, surveillance units, game wardens, and additional resources for county sheriffs to pay overtime and add officers, the noose has tightened around criminal gangs,” Perry added.

The state also has provided additional airplanes and helicopters for law enforcement surveillance along the border, and has made the border a priority area of focus for new technologies that identify criminals and ensure law enforcement has the latest information on individuals that are stopped and detained. Texas also began using the National Guard in planning and operations strategy to enhance border security.

As a result of the state-led efforts, the Del Rio sector experienced a crime reduction from 51 percent to 75 percent among five participating counties. In the Laredo sector, five separate counties experienced a 60 to 75 percent decline in crime. In the El Paso region, which included four Texas counties and a neighboring county in New Mexico, crime dropped 40 percent to as much as 85 percent. In the Big Bend sector, which included some very rugged terrain, five neighboring counties saw a corresponding reduction of 30 percent to 50 percent.  And the Valley Star sector, which included eight Rio Grande Valley counties, saw a 25 percent to 60 percent reduction in criminal activity.

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