EDITORIAL: Feeling safe: Survey adds more evidence that border is not imperiled

To hear some people talk, the U.S.-Mexico border is overrun by outlaws, drug dealers and foreign invaders, and that’s why we need a wall to seal us off. Border residents and other people in the know are aware that such claims are, to say the least, exaggerated.

To hear some people talk, the U.S.-Mexico border is overrun by outlaws, drug dealers and foreign invaders, and that’s why we need a wall to seal us off. Border residents and other people in the know are aware that such claims are, to say the least, exaggerated.

Such exaggerations do a great injustice to the many agencies and law enforcement officers who put their lives on the line every day to keep those crime rates low, especially in the Rio Grande Valley. Vigilance and quick responses by local police and sheriffs departments, augmented by the Texas Department of Public Safety’s troopers and Rangers and federal border agencies, help keep crime at bay and help residents feel safer.

A new survey offers evidence of those agencies’ effectiveness, and should further calm people’s fears — especially in the Valley, which residents already know is one of the safest places to live.

How safe? SafeHome.org, a major supplier of home security systems, has released a list of the safest places to live in the United States and in each state, and the Valley is well represented.

In fact, six local cities — 10 percent — are among the 60 safest in Texas.

Mission and Pharr were in the top 25, with McAllen and Harlingen close behind at Nos. 34 and 37, respectively. Brownsville ranked 54th and Edinburg 60th.

SafeHome used the Chapman University Survey of American Fears to determine what crimes Americans fear the most, then reviewed FBI crime reports and other data to rank the cities where residents should feel the safest.

Different categories of violent and nonviolent crime were computed and weighed, both according to how much they fuel public fears and whether crime rates were going up or down in each city. Other factors, such as the number of police per capita, also were considered, since such factors can affect how safe residents feel.

Those feelings are good for business at SafeHome, which notes that home security system purchases are on the rise.

“There are many reports of violent crimes happening all over the nation which can undermine the importance of feeling safe where you live,” the company states in its introduction to the survey. “When you feel safe, your stress levels are greatly reduced, knowing you can walk outside and run errands” without staying “glued to the activity from your video doorbell.

Feeling safer has obvious economic benefits. When a city or region is known to be safer, people might be more inclined to move there or visit, and even consider it as a place to start or expand a business.

Certainly, crime can’t be eliminated completely, and some people fall victim to crime in even the safest cities. But to suggest that a city, or a region such as the Valley or the border as a whole, is ridden with crime when it isn’t besmirches the dedicated men and women who help keep local residents safe. They deserve better. They deserve our thanks and support.