Following a crackdown on illegal immigration, officials in Prince William County in northern Virginia are reporting their numbers reveal a significant decrease in violent crimes committed.
The violent crime rate in Prince William County plummeted 22 percent in 2008, according to new reports.
In recent years, the county had experienced a steady influx of illegal immigrants that led to its development of one of the most aggressive immigration policies in the nation.
The county for a time required all police officers to question all detainees about their immigration status. In 2008 the county loosened the policy to require police officers to only question those taken into custody about their immigrations status.
If someone is found to be in the country illegally, they are sent to local Immigration and Customs Enforcement for deportation.
The policy was changed because county officials feared that lawsuits would result from the former policy.
Last week, Prince William County Police Chief Charlie T. Deane presented the department’s 2008 crime statistics, pointing out that the overall crime fell well below the five-year average.
Robbery decreased by 8 percent and aggravated assault fell by 36.5 percent in 2008.
Deane said the statistics are not entirely accurate because crimes committed on illegal immigrants may not be reported. He stressed that the police department will continue to protect all victims of crimes, regardless of their immigration status.
“It’s in the best interest in this community that crime be reported regardless of who the victim is, and we must get that word out … because you never know who the witness is going to be who will solve that case,” Dean said.
As the nation continues to debate a federal solution to the immigration crisis, more and more counties and individual towns are taking responsibility into their own hands.
Help Save Manassas is a private organization created by citizens who are committed to reducing the number of illegal immigrants in the city as well as the greater Prince William County region. It was modeled after Help Save Herndon, another Northern Virginia-based anti-illegal immigration organization that helped to decrease the number of illegals in Herndon.