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Poll Show Border Residents Feel Safe

One of the common retorts to past posts on the issue of crime along the US-Mexico border often manifest something along the lines of “but you don’t live there—ask the people who are actually there.”

The Reuel Group did just that (The U.S.-Mexico Border Is Safer Than You Think)

The poll, commissioned by the Border Network for Human Rights in El Paso, Tex., and conducted by the independent polling firm The Reuel Group, Inc., found that the vast majority (more than 87 percent) of people living along the U.S. border feel safe. That’s compared to 8 percent who said they didn’t feel safe, and around 5 percent who were undecided.

The poll surveyed 1,222 adults, primarily likely voters, in 10 communities along the U.S. border: Douglas, Nogales and Yuma, Ariz., El Centro and San Diego, Calif., Las Cruces, N.M. and Brownsville, El Paso, Laredo, McAllen, Tex.

One will allow that “feeling safe” is a subjective issue, but it is noteworthy that the people living on our border seem not to be feeling as threatened as one would expect, if the dire warnings of many politicians (e.g., Jan Brewer and John McCain) would have us to believe.

This is not to say that there is no crime along the border (there is crime pretty much everywhere) or that there are no real problems on the border.  However, again, it would be nice to discuss these problems in the context of reality.

It would also be useful to do similar polls around the country to get comparative stats.

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About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. reid says:

    Oh sure, they just haven’t been kidnapped or beheaded yet.

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  2. mike says:

    I am sure McCain feels threatened when he goes to his compound in Northern AZ – or maybe he is just playing politics.
    I felt safer living in El Paso than I do now in VA.

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  3. JKB says:

    Well, first off they asked people in urban areas.  You know, where the illegal traffic isn’t.  Of course, the very type of people who own the ranches wouldn’t be answering any fool questions by some activist group’s pollster anyway.  I can’t re-locate the story but I saw a news report about residents along a county road in Texas.  They weren’t “scared” but they did have stories of finding bodies on ranches and people in their yards approaching their homes.  They carry guns 24/7 inside and out of the home and have had to install heavy gates to stop smugglers trying to evade Border Patrol roadblocks from entering their land.
     
    And of of course the US government had warned Americans to stay out of an near 100 mile swath of US territory along the border.  And the GAO reported, although with not much detail, that violence along the border was up.
     

    Violence associated with alien smuggling has also increased in recent years, particularly in Arizona. According to the NDIC assessment, expanding border security initiatives and additional U.S. Border Patrol resources are likely obstructing regularly used smuggling routes and fueling this increase in violence, particularly violence directed at law enforcement officers. Alien smugglers and guides are more likely than in past years to use violence against U.S. law enforcement officers in order to smuggle groups of aliens across the southwest border. –
    U.S. GAO – Alien Smuggling: DHS Could Better Address Alien Smuggling along the Southwest Border by Leveraging Investigative Resources and Measuring Program Performance

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  4. TangoMan says:

    It is not surprising to see Steven’s confirmation bias being so ignorantly displayed.
    This poll doesn’t tell us anything of importance. Where is the control group? If the residents of 10 communities along the Northern Border, say:
    Houlton, Maine,
    Newport, Vermont,
    Massena, New York,
    Port Huron, Michigan
    Ashland, Wisconsin
    Baudette, Minnesota
    Westhope, North Dakota
    Sunburst, Montana
    Bonners Ferry, Idaho, and
    Lynden, Washington
    Also had a similar proportion of their population say that they didn’t feel safe in their communities because of their proximity to the border, then we might learn something. However, if, for example, 100% of their residents affirmed that they felt safe living next to the Canadian border, then we enter a different debate – is it OK to allow 13% of Americans living along the Mexican border to feel unsafe so that we can appease the sensitivities of liberals who live further away from the border and don’t want to secure the border by any means necessary?

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  5. Michael Reynolds says:

    Yeah, TangoBrimelow, it’s Steven’s bias that’s showing.  Uh huh.
     
    87% feel safe, and your argument is what?  That it should be 100%?  100% of Irvine doesn’t feel safe, and we’re the safest large city in America.  My neighbors in a gated community inside that safest city don’t always feel safe.
     
    What would be the magic number for you?  87% isn’t enough, so, um . . . 90%  Would that extra 3 points do it?  Would it have to be 95%?  98%?
     
    Round up the Mexicans, there’s an old lady in El Paso who doesn’t feel safe!

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  6. TangoMan says:

    <i>87% feel safe, and your argument is what?  That it should be 100%?</i>
    Actually, yes. No citizens should feel unsafe in the US BECAUSE of living close to the border. Border security is something that the US Government can do something about. To purposefully allow citizens to feel unsafe is unconscionable.
    Moreover, the study design is pretty shoddy, apart from lack of control.  It’s well known that people operate with a false sense of security – they drink and drive because they think that they will ever be in an accident, they drive without seat belts because they don’t think that they are at real risk, they smoke because they either think that the consequences will bypass them or they simply choose to ignore reality, etc.  People will answer that they are safe while concurrently altering their behavior in recognition of the changing environment, that is, they cling to a vision of how they want things to be without owning up to the reality. Self-reporting on a subjective measure, as a polling technique, is loaded with calibration and error issues.
    <i>100% of Irvine doesn’t feel safe, and we’re the safest large city in America.  My neighbors in a gated community inside that safest city don’t always feel safe.</i>
     
    I know that it’s difficult for you to understand written English, but we’re not discussing general safety, we’re discussing safety with respect to border proximity. Unless you’re stretching the definition of neighbor or you’re twisting space-time, it’s impossible that your neighbors in a gated community are living on the border and feeling unsafe BECAUSE of the border.

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  7. TangoMan says:

    Sweet jesus, what is taking so long with fixing the commenting software?

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  8. herb says:

    “Sweet jesus, what is taking so long with fixing the commenting software?”

    It’s not the software, Tango. It’s you. If you had a NE Asian IQ, you could figure it out. (And yes, I’m referencing one of your racist comments on another thread.)

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  9. TangoMan says:

    <i>It’s not the software, Tango. It’s you. If you had a NE Asian IQ, you could figure it out. (And yes, I’m referencing one of your racist comments on another thread.)</i>
     
    Why don’t you link to this supposed “racist” comment I made? Since when is reporting replicable social science findings considered racist? You liberals and your creationism – you’re so small minded and provincial with your taboos against science.

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  10. herb says:

    From the “8% US Births” post, Tangoman wrote:

    “Because Mestizos are not N.E. Asians. A population with a mean IQ of 89 can’t perform to the same standards as a population with a mean IQ of 105. ”

    Main Entry: rac·ism
    Pronunciation: \ˈrā-ˌsi-zəm also -ˌshi-\
    Function: noun
    Date: 1933

    1 : a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race

    Now, I know you don’t think you’re a racist, Tango, but you sure do fit the dictionary definition of it!

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  11. TangoMan says:

    herb,
     
    I see that you yourself must not be a N.E. Asian because you didn’t link to the comment. Clearly it’s not the software, right? It must simply be your inadequacy.
     
    As for your charge, my comment simply reported solid social science and made no determination on superiority. You can’t cling to cultural determinism, where culture is responsible for 100% of outcome variance and cry racism when someone invokes a genetic/evolutionary viewpoint.  If you don’t believe the social science is valid, then dispute the findings, but don’t shoot the messenger.

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  12. Herb says:

    “cry racism when someone invokes a genetic/evolutionary viewpoint. ”
    Tango, you truly are blockheaded. I’m not crying racism. I’m accurately identifying it. Call it the “genetic/evolutionary viewpoint” if you will. Everyone needs their euphemisms. But it doesn’t change the fact that you’re a racist.

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  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    Herb:

    Now, I know you don’t think you’re a racist, Tango, but you sure do fit the dictionary definition of it!

    Actually he never says he’s not a racist.  Just like he never denies he’s Brimelow. And he never denies he’s Steve Sailer’s butt boy or a founder of VDare.

    No, give credit where credit is due: he knows he’s a racist.

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  14. TangoMan says:

    Herb,
     
    <i>Tango, you truly are blockheaded. I’m not crying racism. I’m accurately identifying it.</I>
     
    No you’re not, you’re name-calling in order to escape debate. I reported social science data. Dispute the data. It’s that simple. Screaming “witch” like at the Salem Witch Trials doesn’t accomplish anything substantive.  If you don’t like my comment, argue against the comment. Other readers will appreciate your effort. Only nutbars like Reynolds cackle at your current tactic and that’s only because you validate his mental illness.
     
    BTW, still waiting for you to provide a link. You know, the software can’t be problem, so show us how it’s done.

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  15. Herb says:

    I reported social science data. Dispute the data. It’s that simple.

     
    Oh, I don’t dispute your data.  I can’t dispute your data.  You provided no sources and for all I can tell, you just made it up.
     
    I dispute your conclusions.
     
    It’s one thing to look at mean IQ of populations and notice differences.  It’s another to conclude those differences can be attributed solely to race.

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  16. tom p says:

    Meanwhile, back at the conversation…

    “Actually, yes. No citizens should feel unsafe in the US BECAUSE of living close to the border.”

    Tango, you seem to be assuming that the reason these 13% of people feel unsafe is because they live near the border.

    As Steve said at the end of his post: “It would also be useful to do similar polls around the country to get comparative stats”

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  17. TangoMan says:

    <i>It’s one thing to look at mean IQ of populations and notice differences.  It’s another to conclude those differences can be attributed solely to race.</i>
     
    You’re confused somewhere in your thinking.  Here is a paraphrase of what you wrote:
     
    It’s one thing to look at mean IQ of [races] and notice differences.  It’s another to conclude those differences can be attributed solely to race.
     
    If you make race/population your independent variable and IQ your dependent variable,  then your question is set-up to find the correlation between race and IQ.

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  18. Michael Reynolds says:

    And once again TangoBrimelow does not deny he’s a racist.
     
    Interesting, no?  He’ll perform wondrous verbal gymnastics to avoid denying he’s Peter Brimelow, or that he’s involved in VDARE, or that he’s a racist.

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  19. Herb says:

    You’re confused somewhere in your thinking.
     

    Says the guy who uses the terms “race” and “population” interchangeably…
     
    Tell you what.  Get a TA to explain what race means to you after class.  Then we can talk.
     

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  20. Herb says:

    And once again TangoBrimelow does not deny he’s a racist.
     

    Ha.  Of course not!  He’s looking for scientific reasons to justify his racist views.
     
    However, I will dissent on one thing.  I don’t think Tangoman is Peter Brimelow.  I think he’s a college kid who just discovered The Bell Curve.

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  21. TangoMan says:

    <i>Says the guy who uses the terms “race” and “population” interchangeably…</i>

    Dude, when you’re ignorant about a specific topic it doesn’t help you to bluff, especially in respect to someone whose blogging is topic-focused on genetics. What’s next, telling James Joyner he doesn’t understand the US Constitution?
     
    <a href=”http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-83679914.html”>Ernst Mayr</a>:
     
    <blockquote>
    Let me begin with race. There is a widespread feeling that the word race indicates something undesirable and that it should be left out of all discussions. This leads to such statements as “there are no human races.
    Those who subscribe to this opinion are obviously ignorant of modern biology. Races are not something specifically human; races occur in a large percentage of species of animals. You can read in every textbook on evolution that geographic races of animals, when isolated from other races of their species, may in due time become new species. <b>The terms “subspecies” and “geographic race” are used interchangeably in this taxonomic literature.</b>
    </blockquote>
     
    <i>Tell you what.  Get a TA to explain what race means to you after class.  Then we can talk.</i>
     
    That would create a socially awkward moment.

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  22. Herb says:

    I don’t think your link means what you think it means.  You might want to read it again, and this time, don’t highlight the whole page.

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  23. Michael Reynolds says:

    By the way, anyone having any doubts about Tango’s utter intellectual dishonesty need only follow the link he provides above. It goes to a speech by Ernst Mayr. But not the whole speech, just a snippet.

    Why just a snippet? Because if he linked to the entire speech you might read Mayr saying:

    One can conclude from these observations that although there are certain genetic differences between races, there is no genetic evidence whatsoever to justify the uncomplimentary evaluation that members of one race have sometimes made of members of other races. There simply is no biological basis for racism.

    The very same speech. But a quote Tango doesn’t like. So he directs you to an outtake that seems to support his racist point of view.

    Is it possible Tango couldn’t find the full speech? Kinda unlikely. Because, you see, it is posted in full on the GNXP.com scientific racist web site where “TangoMan” is a contributor.: http://www.gnxp.com/MT2/archives/001951.html

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