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Video: Trump’s Bogus El Paso Claim


In this week’s fact-checking video, CNN’s Jake Tapper reviews President Donald Trump’s false claim about El Paso’s violent crime rates.

In his State of the Union address on Feb. 5, the president said that El Paso went from having “extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the entire country” — to being “one of the safest cities” in the U.S. “immediately” after construction of a border barrier. That’s wrong on all counts. 

We first wrote about this issue when the president made a similar remark on Jan. 14.

These are the facts:

  • El Paso never had “one of the highest” rates of violent crime “in the entire country.” According to FBI crime data, the city had the third lowest violent crime rate among 35 U.S. cities with a population over 500,000 in 2005, 2006 and 2007 – before construction of a 57-mile-long fence started in mid-2008.
  • Violent crime did not drop in El Paso “immediately” after a “powerful barrier” was put up. In fact, the city’s violent crime rate increased 5.5 percent from fiscal year 2007 (the year before construction of the fence started) to 2010 (the year after construction was completed in mid-2009).

As of 2014, FBI data show El Paso still had the third lowest violent crime rate among 35 U.S. cities with a population over 500,000 — just as it did before the fence was built.

For more about El Paso and its crime rates, please see our stories “Trump Wrong About Wall Effect in El Paso” and “FactChecking the State of the Union.”