New FBI crime statistics show murder rates in many U.S. border cities, including San Diego, actually dropped in the first half of 2009. In San Diego, murders are down from 26 to 24. Murders are down in El Paso from six to four, and in Tucson, the murder rate has dropped from 30 to nine for the first half of 2009.
"We don't see the running gun battles, thank goodness, in San Diego County, like they do not too far from here in Mexico and Tijuana," said Lt. Dave Myers of the San Diego Sheriff’s Department Border Crime Suppression Team.
Myers said that that is a direct result of very hard work by law enforcement. Sixteen full-time sheriff's deputies specifically and proactively target criminals in a big picture effort to prevent border violence. According to the San Diego police, the effort to fight border crime is the best it has ever been.
In just the past year and a half, the San Diego Sheriff's Department has received more than $20 million in federal grants to fight border-related crime. It’s often low profile, undercover work that may go unseen by many San Diegans but which authorities insist is a constant and crucial necessity.
"The crime rate is down but that doesn't mean the threat is down," Myers said. "The threat is still there. he possibility of what could still happen is still there."
Myers said, however, that his team is seeing an increase in some border-related crimes, including cross-border kidnappings and drug seizures. Just last week, his team seized more than seven pounds of heroin smuggled into the United States along Interstate 5.