[UPDATE: A much more detailed response to Mr. Fox is here. Briefly, my point is that statistics offered by the NY Times do not support the claims they made; Mr. Fox's rebuttal is that the Times was wrong, but if I had looked at it differently I would have seen that the Times was still wrong, so therefore I am wrong. Yeah, I found him to be confusing, too.]
The NY Times pushes to the border of statistical incoherence and tells us that in Arizona, crime is down even if the perception of crime is up:
It is a connection that those who support stronger enforcement of immigration laws and tighter borders often make: rising crime at the border necessitates tougher enforcement.
But the rate of violent crime at the border, and indeed across Arizona, has been declining, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, as has illegal immigration, according to the Border Patrol. While thousands have been killed in Mexico’s drug wars, raising anxiety that the violence will spread to the United States, F.B.I. statistics show that Arizona is relatively safe.
That Mr. Krentz’s death nevertheless churned the emotionally charged immigration debate points to a fundamental truth: perception often trumps reality, sometimes affecting laws and society in the process.
Interesting. I would have hoped that Arizonans had a better grip on the reality in their own state than some NY Times reporter. Let's cut to the stats:
For instance, statistics show that even as Arizona’s population swelled, buoyed in part by illegal immigrants funneling across the border, violent crime rates declined, to 447 incidents per 100,000 residents in 2008, the most recent year for which comprehensive data is available from the F.B.I. In 2000, the rate was 532 incidents per 100,000.
Nationally, the crime rate declined to 455 incidents per 100,000 people, from 507 in 2000.
What we see that Arizona is broken into three categories - Metropolitan Statistical Areas, Cities Outside of MSA, and rural counties. Most people reside and most crime occurs in the MSAs. On the other hand, a glance at a map tells me that the Arizona border itself is not near what to the eyes of this former Manhattanite looks like any major city.
And the stats reprinted below tell a different story - measured by violent crimes per 100,000, the non-MSA portion of Arizona has seen a dramatic increase in crime.
We also note that the non-MSA population has been declining while the state has been growing. Maybe what were once exurbs are now suburbs incorporated into growing cities, which certainly muddies any comparisons across eight years.
But whatever the explanation, these numbers do not support the case that the rural and border areas of Arizona are getting safer. Quite the contrary, actually. Maybe the Times can turn a reporter loose on that.
FYI: Times Public Apologist Clark Hoyt couldn't care less; bore him with your whinging at "firstname.lastname@example.org".