LATINO VOICES
02/25/2014 06:00 pm ET | Updated Feb 26, 2014

The Most Dangerous U.S. Cities Aren't Anywhere Near Mexico

Visions of America via Getty Images

The Texas Republican primary for lieutenant governor has evolved into a competition to see who can portray himself as the biggest immigration hardliner.

Texas State Sen. Dan Patrick has emerged as the leader in that competition, to judge from San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro’s assessment.

Patrick has warned repeatedly of a “Mexican invasion,” though net migration from Mexico to the United States has dropped to zero since the economic crisis of 2008, and the undocumented population of Texas has risen only modestly since then. He’s pledged to crack down on employers who hire undocumented workers, though he himself did so in the 1980s. And he’s tried to tie undocumented immigrants to violent crime, using questionable numbers.

Patrick ought to know a lot about crime. He hails from Houston, which has the ninth-highest crime rate on in the country for a city of more than 500,000 residents, according to annual statistics compiled by CQ Press.

But all the talk about border security conveniently ignores that that the U.S.-Mexico border is one of the safest regions in the country. For several years running, CQ Press has ranked the Texas border city of El Paso as the safest large city in the United States. The California city of San Diego, across from border from the Mexican city of Tijuana, comes in at number four. The fifth-safest city is Los Angeles, a heavily immigrant city just two hours away from the border. San Antonio, a majority-Latino city some 2.5 hours from the border, comes in at number 10.

The survey lists the 10 most dangerous cities of small, medium and large size in the United States. Not a single one of those 30 cities are located along the U.S.-Mexico border.

The federal government already pours more money into immigration enforcement than all other federal law enforcement agencies combined. Instead of throwing still more cash at the border, wouldn’t it make sense to secure these 10 cities first?

  • 1 Detroit, Mich.
    Detroit police officers investigate a shooting outside of a barber shop where nine people were shot Nov. 6, 2013 (Getty)
    With a murder rate of 42.8 per 100,000 residents, CQ Press places Detroit as the most dangerous large city in the United States. It's about as far from the U.S.-Mexico border as you can get.
  • 2 Baltimore, Md.
    While the homicide rate in most major cities dropped across the United States, Baltimore's continued to rise.
  • 3 Memphis, Tenn.
    The murder rate rose 7 percent in the Southern city of Memphis, Tennessee, according to Law Street. Fortunately, other violent crimes, including rape, robbery and aggravated assault, all dropped.
  • 4 Milwaukee, Wis.
    WikiMedia:
    The violent crime rate in Milwaukee jumped by 5 percent from 2012 to 2013, according to Law Street. Milwaukee lies about 1,400 miles north of the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • 5 Philadelphia, Pa.
    AP
    Thankfully, the homicide rate in Philadelphia has declined in recent years, to a still-unsettling 15.9 per 100,000 residents. It would take 27 hours of nonstop driving from Philadelphia to reach the closest point on the U.S.-Mexico border.
  • 6 Indianapolis, Ind.
    This midwestern city is also a day's drive from the border.
  • 7 Oklahoma City, Okla.
    WikiMedia:
    This city's police department is clamoring for more funds.
  • 8 Washington, D.C.
    Getty Images
    Isn't it sad that the seat of federal government is ranked as the U.S. city with the eight-highest crime rate? Perhaps Congress should spend more time figuring out how to address the security issue outside its doorsteps.
  • 9 Houston, Texas
    Getty Images
    Before railing against the much safer U.S.-Mexico border, perhaps Houston politicians should address their own city's high crime rate.
  • 10 Dallas, Texas
    Getty Images
    Another Texas non-border city that has security issues that beg to be addressed.

CORRECTION: This article was corrected to reflect that Memphis is a city and not a state.

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