DPS Director: Crime Will Increase Even With More Border Security Funding
Despite an increased budget request in border spending, Department of Public Safety Director Steve McCraw said security along the Texas-Mexico border is only expected to worsen. His statements were part of a special House committee meeting that took place this week in Brownsville.
McCraw told the House Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security that Operation Secure Texas has allowed troopers to focus on cracking down on drug smuggling and human trafficking in just a couple counties within the Rio Grande Valley. He says that cartels operating along the border have since shifted their criminal operations to adjacent border counties where crime has suddenly risen.
“It’s going to become worse as we continue to move east and west, there’s no question about it, we’ve seen it with the numbers, at the same point the goal that was set was to displace it outside of Texas," McCraw explained.
McCraw laid out his vision for increasing the DPS border operations budget to help cover the remaining 1,200 miles of the border.
In 2015 the legislature approved an $800 million request from DPS to conduct the state’s border security operation; this month DPS officials announced they would be requesting a $300 million increase over its original budget during the 2017 legislative session.
“If we wanted to reach operational control in 14 counties as opposed to just the two counties, you’re probably looking at $5.6 billion if it cost $800 million to reach operational control in just two counties," said Rep. Ryan Guillen, a Democrat from Rio Grande City that sits on the House committee.
McCraw told lawmakers the increased budget would go to help fund an additional 250 troopers, more than 5,000 new surveillance cameras, and would help replace 1,200 DPS vehicles, including two new helicopters and four small engine planes.