Gov. Rick Perry today announced the reduction of crime by 30 percent in the El Paso area during a recent border security operation known as Operation Wrangler III. Operation Wrangler III was a high-intensity surge operation that lasted 30 days in the El Paso border region.
"The success of this border security surge operation demonstrates once again that more boots on the ground, working together as a team, increases our safety and border security," Perry said. "When criminal organizations are forced to shut down their smuggling activities, our communities are safer, and the quality of life improves for all Texans."
As in previous state-led surge operations, the objective of Operation Wrangler III was to shut down organized smuggling activity between the Ports of Entry to prevent the illegal crossing of drugs, contraband and people into Texas. Local sheriffs' offices and police departments worked side-by-side with their state and federal partners in three Texas counties (El Paso, Hudspeth and Culberson counties) and two New Mexico counties (Dona Ana and Luna counties) to deny Mexican criminal organizations and transnational gangs entry into the U.S.
A key benefit of securing the border is crime reduction. Operation Wrangler III resulted in the overall reduction of crime by 30 percent during the 30 day period of operation. The El Paso Sheriff's Office documented an 82 percent reduction in aggravated assaults and 43 percent reduction in robberies. The El Paso Police Department reported a 16 percent reduction in robberies and 26 percent reduction in sexual assaults during the period of this operation.
"We are sending a clear message that an increased law enforcement presence is the key to securing our border," Perry said. "Working with numerous state, federal and local agencies we can reduce drug trafficking, human smuggling and other crime in a significant way."
In addition to the successes of Operation Wrangler III, border-wide surge operations have had a sustained impact on crime along the entire Texas-Mexico border. With 13 of the 18 border counties reporting, January-April of this year saw a 20 percent decrease in overall crime along these border areas compared to the same period of time last year. The 13 counties include Brewster, Culberson, Dimmit, El Paso, Hidalgo, Hudspeth, Maverick, Pecos, Star, Terrell, Val Verde, Zapata and Zavala.
The statistics from local law enforcement agencies in these 13 counties comparing January-April, 2006, to January-April, 2007, revealed the following overall results:
* Criminal Mischief reduced 34 percent
* Theft reduced 30 percent
* Burglary reduced 13 percent
* Aggravated Assault reduced 16 percent
* Sexual Assault reduced 59 percent
* Murder reduced 15 percent