Here’s a Closer Look at President Trump’s Big Lie About El Paso

At last night’s State of the Union address, President Trump said this:

The border city of El Paso, Texas, used to have extremely high rates of violent crime — one of the highest in the country, and considered one of our Nation’s most dangerous cities. Now, with a powerful barrier in place, El Paso is one of our safest cities.

This is yet another great example of how to lie by cherry picking statistics. Here is the violent crime rate reported by the El Paso Police Department:

Trump was right! Crime was rising, and when they built the wall it suddenly began to plummet. Build that wall!

But wait. Let’s finish up the chart, shall we? Here is violent crime in El Paso since 1993:

With this broader view it’s easy to see that Trump was lying. As with all big cities, crime in El Paso dropped steadily for more than a decade from its peak in 1993. From 2006-08 it had a brief and minor rise—most likely just noise—and then stayed basically flat after that. Plainly the wall had next to no effect.

However, if you carefully pick your starting date at 2006 and then zoom in, you can make it look like the wall had a massive effect. That’s what Team Trump did. And to drive home what an outright lie this was, here’s a chart of the crime rate in every mid-size city in the United States tracked by the FBI:

El Paso has never had “one of the highest” crime rates in the country. In fact, it’s had the lowest crime rate in the country since 2005, and it’s been among the four lowest since 1991. There’s simply no excuse for pretending that El Paso was ever a high-crime city or that it took the construction of a wall to bring down its crime rate. It’s just flatly not true.

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Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

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Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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