I was watching C-SPAN yesterday when Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) took the floor to assert that crime in San Diego County dropped 56 percent after the U.S. Border Patrol erected the border fence here in the mid-1990s. He attributed this little statistic to the FBI’s Crime Index.

I thought that sounded like a suspiciously large drop so I called April Langwell at the FBI’s San Diego office and she agreed. In fact, she noted, and the FBI notes on its Web site, that it shies away from attributing crime rates to any direct cause. There are just too many variables.

Also, according to the FBI’s most recent Unified Crime Report released Sept. 18, the estimated volume of violent crime rose 2.3 percent nationwide from 2004 to 2005. I’m still looking for FBI stats showing a 56 percent drop in crime countywide.

The San Diego Union-Tribune had a thorough report on crime statistics last April after a San Diego Association of Governments report showed crime falling overall since the 1980s and 1990s. But you’ll note that none of the law enforcement officials or experts quoted cites the border fence as the reason.

CATHERINE MACRAE HOCKMUTH

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