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Laredo crime rate continues to decrease for past 11 years

A lot of people assume border cities are filled with crime and danger, but the reality is that here in Laredo, the law enforcement presence is massive.
Published: Nov. 19, 2020 at 10:41 PM CST
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LAREDO, Tex. (KGNS) - A few crimes have been reported recently, but we’re told crime in the gateway city is actually down compared to years in the past.

A lot of people assume border cities are filled with crime and danger, but the reality is that here in Laredo, the law enforcement presence is massive.

That’s a large reason why the city’s crime rate has continued to decrease for the past 11 years.

“A lot of people just kind of think we ride around with bullet-proof vests, and there’s this notoriety of being 100 feet away (from Mexico),” said Investigator Joe Baeza. “I can throw a stone from the border and hit Mexico. How can this arms-reach, nefarious situation not be affecting Laredo. There’s a very good answer for that: we don’t tolerate that here.”

The Laredo Police Department has recorded 11 homicides for this year. Four of those stem from one domestic-related incident in April.

So how does this compare to previous years?

According to LPD crime statistics, there were 19 homicides in 2009. Fast forward a few years, there were 14 in 2017, 11 in 2018, and only 6 in 2019.

The lowest number of homicides in the past decade occurred in 2013 when LPD reported only three homicides.

“Most of the time it’s people who are related to each other or are for sure known to each other. We very rarely have stranger on stranger homicide cases here in town.”

The pandemic has also helped the crime rate. Driving while under the influence arrests have decreased by 100, as bars and other nightlife activities remained closed for a while.

But there is one specific crime that has increased… and that’s petty theft.

That involves the theft of items that cost less than $50, surprisingly many recently being cases of beer.

Investigator Baeza calls it “beer runoffs.”

“There weren’t a lot of things for people to get involved with. The nightlife was practically nonexistent for a substantial moment in time this year. This year is relatively a safer year than some of the other years we’re going to end up having.”

Outside of homicide, the number of robberies, burglaries and thefts have steadily declined over the years.

But within these numbers are real people who deserve justice and detectives working around the clock to deliver that justice.

“They’re always thinking about the cases that are on their desk. They’re not just numbers to them. They know there are families on the other side of that phone that’s waiting to hear back about their loved one’s case.”

One of the most known homicide cases this year was the death of Gracie Espinoza.

The community continues to call on LPD to solve her case, as they spread the message “Justice for Gracie.”

Investigator Baeza says they are closer than not to closing the case, but he couldn’t provide further details since it’s an ongoing investigation.

For those who don’t know, you can text 911 if calling or speaking out loud is not an option.

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