Evidence of this comes from my old stomping grounds of the Texas Rio Grande Valley (Bryan Preston, PJ Media).
Hidalgo County elected Democrat Guadalupe “Lupe” Treviño sheriff in 2004 and then re-elected him in 2008, and this spring he reportedly spent more than a half a million dollars to clinch the Democratic nomination for a third term as the county’s sheriff. In this heavily Democratic county, Treviño is a cinch to win that third term. The former Austin police officer claims that Hidalgo County has seen a dramatic reduction of violent crime during his tenure. Sheriff Treviño dismisses the presence and influence of drug cartels in his border county. To hear Sheriff Treviño talk, domestic violence may be a bigger issue in Hidalgo County. But as a local news story that was published August 10, 2012, shows, many residents of Hidalgo County do not feel safe and do not believe that crime is down at all. They also do not believe that Sheriff Treviño’s office is concerned about them.
The federal government has granted Hidalgo County about $6 million to fight crime since 2004. That money has gone to the county’s anti-narcotics efforts and has funded the purchase of sophisticated video surveillance towers that are supposed to be used to monitor the border and watch over troubled neighborhoods. One grant operation, called Stonegarden, has enabled the county to purchase several vehicles and video sky towers, which some residents allege have been used for non-police and even political purposes when they’re not being used to prevent crimes.
...In March of 2011, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said, “There is a perception that the border is worse now than it ever has been. That is wrong. The border is better now than it ever has been.” Napolitano went on to say that violence from Mexico’s drug war has not spilled over into the U.S., citing statistics that show crime along the border has either stayed flat or even gone down. Napolitano has visited the border several times to hail the cooperation between local and federal authorities and has visited Hidalgo County, where her friend Lupe Treviño is the sheriff.
During Napolitano’s visit in February 2012, Sheriff Treviño noted: “We tell the truth and say violent crime is down and cartel violence has been kept south of the river, but we get criticized because we say we need money. If we’re going to continue to lower the violent crime rate, we have to have a sustained maintenance. That’s why we need the continued influx of federal funds.”
But how accurate are the statistics that the local law enforcement agencies send their states and ultimately to the federal government? PJM/PJTV has obtained exclusive hidden camera video from inside the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office. In this video, a crime analyst – the person responsible for entering official data into the Uniform Crime Reporting system from the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office – admits that the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office manipulates its crime statistics systematically.
Deputy: Hey what’s up? (unintelligible question)
Analyst: No, I can do it for you.
Deputy: Cool. (unintelligible, but he asks about changing a code)
Analyst: I guess. Cause he’s the one changing everything.
Deputy: Changing the stats?
Analyst: (nods) He’s the one…
Deputy: Well how is he changing them?
Analyst: He reads the reports and fiddles with you if it’s not linking. Like, with a robbery, he redrizzles it down to a simple, like an, if it’s like uh, aggravated assault (looks away to see if anyone can hear), he orders a downgrade to assault. Or if…
Deputy: It’s real simple to do because most people are gonna, think you’re gonna have more.
(Analyst tilts head skeptically)
Deputy: You can justify it both ways.
Analyst: Yeah, but some of them, no. (crosstalk) Like, as far as the standards go, from the UCR, yeah.
Deputy: So. You can get in trouble.
Deputy: You can get in trouble?
Analyst: Not us, but…yeah the sheriff.
Deputy: Him (points in the direction of the sheriff’s office).
Analyst: Yeah. Not me.
Preston's PJ Media story is the first of a three part series.
Interestingly, Sheriff Trevino was confronted with allegations that run contrary to what he is claiming (RioGrandeGuardian deadlink, via FreeRepublic.com).
At a candidates’ forum on Tuesday, challenger Geovani Hernandez claimed the Valley was “infested with drug cartel members.” He also told the Guardian that his secret weapon in securing victory at the polls could be the Women in Action group that has sought to galvanize residents in Hidalgo County colonias.
Hidalgo County Sheriff Guadalupe ‘Lupe’ Treviño said Hernandez’s claims about the level of infiltration by drug cartels in the Valley are greatly exaggerated. He also questioned who was funding Hernandez’s campaign.
Tuesday evening’s lively debate was hosted by Hidalgo County Texas Democratic Women. More than 200 people were in attendance at the Palm Aire hotel in Weslaco. It was the first time Treviño and Hernandez had gone head to head at a political forum.
“We have got to be real. I have walked the streets. I have talked to the people. All of us know we are infested with drug cartel members,” Hernandez told the audience. “We need to protect our families. What happens here affects the rest of the United States of America. I have worked terrorism, I have worked borders before. I do not protect drug dealers.”
Treviño responded with a personal assessment of his seven and a half years as sheriff. He said he had focused on three major issues, reducing the crime rate, community outreach and reducing domestic violence. He said success had been achieved in all these areas.
“In the last three years we have reduced the violent crime rate by 64 percent. Just last year we reduced it by 24 percent. We have made thousands of house visits. We have initiated a community centered project that receives statewide recognition and awards for reducing crime. We have developed a one of a kind domestic abuse program that targets the reoffending subjects,” Treviño said.
“Under my leadership we have improved the quality of life. I am the only candidate in this campaign that has been shown to be trustworthy, that has demonstrated integrity and proven to be credible. I have been tested and I have proven myself.”
...Hernandez told the Guardian he welcomes public scrutiny of where his campaign funding is coming from.
“I think it is a good idea to scrutinize the funding of both candidates. The Treviño campaign is spending 15 times more than the position of sheriff is worth. It makes you start thinking about the integrity of people. If you look at my report, I am not taking any big donations, just what I need to run a campaign,” Hernandez said.
Hernandez also said he stands by his “infested” remarks. He told voters to check a report by the Texas Department of Public Safety. “Let’s get real. Everybody knows what is going on. We have different cartels operating here. It is ridiculous to say they are not.”
So, how can you say you're being honest, Sheriff Trevino, when it appears your office is fudging the numbers just to help Secretary of Homeland InSecurity Incompantano?
And I haven't even brought up how the Mexican Military made a brief incursion in the Hidalgo County town of Mission in February 2011, and near Donna, TX. There's even been reports that Islamic terrorists are suspected of setting up shop along the Texas/Mexico border.