Sometimes it is just better to sit back and watch. Today’s Washington Post continues the debate on Prince William County’s crime report. Clearly, people have their own interpretation of what has happened.
Basically, the debate is as follows:
With the release of the new data, which cover the first 10 months of enforcement, people on both sides of the debate claim that the numbers prove their case. Advocates of the policy say the low numbers of illegal immigrants arrested show that it is working as a deterrent. Opponents say the statistics show that the rhetoric about the safety threat posed by illegal immigrants was overblown.
By one measure, critics said, the policy has failed: The County’s crime rate rose last year for the first time since 2004. That increase was driven largely by a surge in property crime, including burglaries and larcenies. But the number of major violent crimes plummeted almost 22 percent from the year before — more proof, advocates say that the policy has worked.
“I think what the stats show is the effectiveness of the program,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Corey A. Stewart (R-At Large), who fought hard for passage of the policy.
As evidence that the measure is working, Stewart pointed out that illegal immigrants were charged with several homicides in 2007, compared with none in 2008. Two men who were in the country illegally were charged with four of Prince William’s nine homicides in 2007, police said.
“There were a series of very serious crimes, high-profile crimes committed by illegal aliens” before the policy, Stewart said. “Frankly, illegal immigrants have done one of two things: They have either left the county, or they simply are being very careful not to commit any crimes and end up in jail.”
Corey is attempting to turn a year or 2 into a theory. Crime statistics just don’t work that way Corey. Experts in the field believe our crime statistics are as they are because of Chief Deane’s leadership in getting more professionals involved in crime fighting. It stands to reason, the more cops out there, the fewer crimes committed and the fewer committed crimes that go unsolved. Our police force is just excellent and our police chief has an extremely good national reputation.
There is much good in Prince William County. There is much to crow about. However, the Immigration Resolution isn’t one of those things. It caused dissention amongst residents and brought an undesirable focus on our county. Corey Stewart ought to be promoting the county based on the professional accomplishments of Chief Deane and a lowered crime rate (prior to 2008), rather than attempting to blow sunshine all over himself for ‘running the illegals out of town.’