Ohio's three biggest cities are all experiencing problems with homicides, but resources were used to deploy law enforcement to Texas.
Ohio GOP Gov. Mike DeWine spent nearly $230,000 in public funds to send officers from his state's highway patrol to the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas, even as Ohio has been experiencing a serious crime problem.
As part of a Republican campaign to attack the immigration policies of President Joe Biden, Greg Abbott, Texas' Republican governor, put out a dubious call for assistance with border surveillance. In July, DeWine announced that he was responding to the request.
On Wednesday, a spokesperson for the Ohio Department of Public Safety disclosed to the Ohio Capital-Journal that nearly $230,000 in taxpayer funds was spent to send 14 Ohio State Highway Patrol officers to the border.
"There was not a final cost analysis compiled at the completion of the detail, however the estimated total cost for the mission prior to departure was $229,571.00," Lt. Nathan E. Dennis told the outlet.
The money was spent at the same time that Ohio's cities are experiencing serious crime problems. Columbus, Ohio's most populous city, reported its 135th homicide on Aug. 22. The current rate of killings is ahead of 2020, when 175 homicides were reported there.
Local law enforcement officials have said that resources have been stretched because of the crime spike.
"Detectives are doing their best from run to run and there are sometimes when there are 3 or 4 shootings in a night and the detectives have to use a lot of valuable resources to go to each one of those," Robert Strausbaugh, commander of the Columbus Police Major Crimes Bureau, told a local TV station in June.
Strausbaugh also noted that "the entire community" has had to expend resources to deal with the fallout, including doctors and nurses at hospitals and others who have to follow up with incidences of crime.
In Cleveland, Ohio's second-largest city, the rise in violent crime led to the decision in July to reassign police enforcing coronavirus protocols to instead deal with gun crime. Mayor Frank Jackson said there is a "high probability" the city will set a record for homicides.
And in the third-largest city, Cincinnati, the police department said in July that the city is experiencing problems with violent crime, though not as badly as in 2020.
When he announced the deployment in July, DeWine said the use of resources was "in Ohio's interest." He specifically cited crime, noting, "the vast majority, almost all the drugs that are coming into the state of Ohio come across the southern border."
But data has shown that undocumented immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than native-born or legal immigrants.
A survey of crime statistics in Texas for offenses between 2012 and 2018 showed that U.S.-born citizens were twice as likely as undocumented immigrants to commit violent crimes in the state and almost two-and-a-half times as likely to commit drug violations.
Republicans have attempted to lay the blame for increased border crossings on the Biden administration's decision to rescind harsh immigration policies imposed by the Trump administration, but experts have said a rise in apprehensions has more to do with seasonal shifts in migration patterns.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.