McAllen police chief announces a decade of decrease in crime

McAllen Police chief Victor Rodriguez explains to local media about the crime data for 2018 during a press conference at the McAllen Police Department on Friday, Jan.18, 2018. Photo by Delcia Lopez/The Monitor dlopez@themonitor.com

McALLEN — Police Chief Victor Rodriguez stood inside the old McAllen Police Department on Pecan Boulevard Friday morning with a message for the community.

And he was beaming with pride in his officers, in McAllen residents and in the city’s leadership as he delivered that message.

“At the end of 2019, the crime data that we’re reporting to the State of Texas and the FBI that is the lowest crime data, the lowest instances of crime in McAllen, in the last 35 years,” Rodriguez said.

The chief announced the findings of the department’s annual crime report, which tracks 10 types of crime.

The results, Rodriguez said, are outstanding.

“At the end of last year, we recorded our 10th consecutive annual decrease for the city of McAllen,” Rodriguez said. “Ten years in a row, we have recorded crime volume and crime rate decreases.”

The crime volume is the actual number of crimes recorded while the crime rate is the number of crimes reported per 100,000 residents, which is estimated at a growth rate of 2.2%.

In 2019, McAllen’s population stood at 154,044 with a crime volume of 3,735 and crime rate of 2,363.

Those numbers represent a 6.1% decrease in the crime volume and an 8.1% decrease in the crime rate.

There are a number of factors contributing to the steady decline in crime in McAllen, Rodriguez said.

One of those factors is the community.

“We are very proud of our McAllen community, because of the steps they take, we are experiencing less crime in our community,” Rodriguez said. “And to every one of them, we’d like to say thank you and we’d like to say we’re proud of them, and we’d like to say we salute our community for that.”

A huge part of that effort is a modern one.

Rodriguez said police don’t just knock on the doors of homes or businesses in efforts to look for suspects or victims.

Rather, the prevalence of home video surveillance systems has been a boon to investigators.

“So our community’s taken many steps to secure our community with video systems … so our community is a big factor,” Rodriguez said.

There’s also the border factor.

“The attention on the border over the last 10 years has brought state and federal resources that have come to the department as a result of increased attention on the border, impacting the department’s ability to suppress crime and contribute to decreasing crime rates and volume.”

Another factor is ever advancing technology.

“If you ask me today, what are the two greatest advances? DNA and video are the two greatest advances in technology that are helping us today, helping us to be more effective,” Rodriguez said. “When I say more effective, that is identify people and finding them and arresting them and then stopping their crime spree.”

The last factor to the decade of decreasing crime is a no-brainer.

“The other variable here is the fact that we have very hardworking police men and women,” Rodriguez said.

That wouldn’t be possible without adequate public safety funding from the city commission, he added.

“That whole universe of effort I believe is the reason we’re able to show 10 years of decrease in crime,” the chief said.