The Corner

U.S.

But Why Is El Paso So Safe?

President Trump, as the New York Times and others have pointed out, has it all wrong about crime in El Paso. El Paso is, and long has been, one of the safest big cities in the United States. In many years, it has ranked as the safest or second-safest large American city, often running neck-and-neck with Honolulu. It has a lower violent-crime rate than does Austin and about one-fourth the violent crime rate of Kansas City, and in 2018 its violent-crime rate was just about the same as sleepy Anaheim.

But why is El Paso so safe? It is, after all, a city in which people have at times sat on their roofs and watched running gun battles across the river in Juarez for entertainment. Buildings in El Paso have been struck by stray bullets from Mexico.

There are a few theories about this. One is that El Paso has a large military presence and a massive law-enforcement presence, which may tamp down crime.

Another theory is that El Paso is essentially South Philadelphia writ large.

From Reuters:

Crime watchers say keeping a low profile in El Paso also suits the business-minded cartels who use the isolated Texas city as an entry point for tons of marijuana, cocaine and other drugs bound for a U.S. markets worth $30-$50 billion a year by some estimates.

“To kill people in El Paso is bad for business, and to kill them in Juarez is business,” said author Charles Bowden, whose book “Murder City” chronicles the slaughter in Juarez.

When South Philadelphia was the front lawn of the Italian mafia, it was considered one of the safest neighborhoods around. It was full of mob wives, mob grandmothers, mob girlfriends, etc. To mug somebody in a neighborhood like that, or to commit a burglary there, was to risk ending up at the bottom of the Schuylkill River.

There are many cartel figures who do their business in Mexico and live in and around El Paso. Many of them keep family there. Would you want to try a home-invasion robbery on a mansion with a Mercedes parked out front in a city like that?

El Paso is a lovely city and a strange one. It is an outward-looking border city rather than an inward-looking one, having so little to do with the rest of Texas that it isn’t even in the same time zone as Dallas, Houston, and Austin. It is a little like Las Vegas or New Orleans, a sui generis city whose strengths and weaknesses probably don’t provide many insights that would be applicable to other cities.

Most Popular

Elections

One Last Grift for Bernie Sanders

Bernie Sanders, the antique Brooklyn socialist who represents Vermont in the Senate, is not quite ready to retire to his lakeside dacha and so once again is running for the presidential nomination of a party to which he does not belong with an agenda about which he cannot be quite entirely ... Read More
PC Culture

Hate-Crime Hoaxes Reflect America’s Sickness

On January 29, tabloid news site TMZ broke the shocking story that Jussie Smollett, a gay black entertainer and progressive activist, had been viciously attacked in Chicago. Two racist white men had fractured his rib, poured bleach on him, and tied a noose around his neck. As they were leaving, they shouted ... Read More
Politics & Policy

The Strange Paradoxes of Our Age

Modern prophets often say one thing and do another. Worse, they often advocate in the abstract as a way of justifying their doing the opposite in the concrete. The result is that contemporary culture abounds with the inexplicable — mostly because modern progressivism makes all sorts of race, class, and ... Read More
Film & TV

A Sublime Christian Masterpiece of a Film

‘There are two ways through life -- the way of nature and the way of grace,” remarks the saintly mother at the outset of The Tree of Life, one of the most awe-inspiring films of the 21st century. She continues: Grace doesn’t try please itself. It accepts being slighted, forgotten, disliked, accepts insults ... Read More
U.S.

White Progressives Are Polarizing America

To understand how far left (and how quickly) the Democratic party has moved, let’s cycle back a very short 20 years. If 1998 Bill Clinton ran in the Democratic primary today, he’d be instantaneously labeled a far-right bigot. His support for the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, the Defense of Marriage Act, ... Read More