Etcetera #5: The Truth About Sanctuary Cities (Part 2)

As we noted last week, sanctuary cities have been getting a lot of press lately. Are they a dangerous drain on the United States, or are they a good and meaningful way to address a complicated immigration problem?

You can link to the podcast on Soundcloud here; you are also welcome to join a post-podcast discussion on our Facebook page.

Meanwhile, here is the blog post Beth and I referenced during the both podcasts on this issue.  I have posted a lot of separate links in previous episode posts, in this case, it's a lot easier to just encourage you to click on the many links embedded within the post.

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We noted in the show that Phoenix is often spotlighted as an example of how cracking down on illegal immigration – specifically, rejecting sanctuary city policies – will make places safer. It's absolutely true that, from 2008 to 2009, when Phoenix dropped sanctuary city policies, crime took a significant drop.

But that's only part of the story. Let’s take a look at what else was happening at that time.

First, crime was  simultaneously dropping in other sanctuary cities as well. 

“Crime dropped in most of the country's 20 largest cities between 2008 and 2015, the last full year with statistics available. According to an April 2017 list published on Dopplr, eight of the largest American cities have official "sanctuary city" status: New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, Philadelphia, Detroit, San Francisco, and Austin. And, just like Phoenix (as well as other non-sanctuary cities), those municipalities saw decreases in most categories of crime. The FBI's annual Uniform Crime Report shows that sanctuary city status has no connection to any increase or decrease in crime. “ (“This is How Fox News Manipulates Data to Smear Sanctuary Cities and Immigrants”) 

Second, crime in Arizona in general had been dropping already. According to CNN, 

“According to FBI statistics, violent crimes reported in Arizona dropped by nearly 1,500 reported incidents between 2005 and 2008. Reported property crimes also fell, from about 287,000 reported incidents to 279,000 in the same period. These decreases are accentuated by the fact that Arizona's population grew by 600,000 between 2005 and 2008.” 

Third, crime had been dropping in Phoenix as well. records something else that’s interesting: Crime had been trending down in Phoenix for years before 2009 (though it did take quite a plunge between 20008-2009). Here’s the overall crime index numbers:

2001: 625.9
2002: 621.0
2003: 620.2
2004: 573.1
2005 578.3
2006: 558.6
2007: 546.1
2008: 482.1
2009: 385.3
2010: 367.9
2011: 404.9
2012: 407.5
2013: 397.8
2014: 382.4
2015: 373.3

In 2008, the illegal immigrant population was at its highest: 560,000. In 2011, it was at 360,000, a drop of 200, 000. Meanwhile, the crime index jumped dramatically in 2011.  In 2012, when crime had ‘re-peaked,’ the illegal immigrant population was 300,000. Then it grew by 25,000 over the next three years – while crime dropped. 

SIDE NOTE: Phoenix is often cited as being the kidnapping capital of the world. That statistic is remarkably off base. As you can see by this report, if you count things that aren’t kidnappings as if they were, you will have a lot more kidnappings.  PolitiFact further reported that Sgt. Tommy Thompson, the Phoenix Police Department's public information officer, "said almost everyone who is kidnapped in Phoenix is involved in criminal activities such as illegal border crossings and the drug trade. 'Unless you're involved in the dope trade, there's a very, very slim chance' that you'll be kidnapped.'"
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As always, we welcome interaction here or on the Facebook page that continue this discussion: links, comments, observations, etc!


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