The Washington Post’s Prince William Section has an article about the success of Help Save Manassas in its first year of operation, and is about as good coverage on the issue as one could reasonably expect. I’m sure out of a sense of fairness, the next time Mexicans Without Borders celebrates an anniversary they’ll now be coming to me for balancing commentary. Yeah, that’ll be the day.
The article could benefit from a few clarifications or corrections. One, as much as I’d like to take credit for initiating BVBL, that honor is reserved for the anonymous individual who did and then brought me on as a contributor a couple of months after it started. The original BVBL has since gone to ground, and in his absence I get to be the caretaker of this enterprise. Second, although I played a role in the establishment of Help Save Manassas, it really is the product of a group of dedicated activists both local and regional and I can’t take sole credit for it.
And as much as the Rule of Law Resolution or the activities of Help Save Manassas have helped reduce crime in the Prince William County Area, crime statistics for 2007 are hard to use as a basis for proving that claim. Help Save Manassas was formed in April of 2007, and I’m not quite sure whether any impact on crime rates would have been observed within annual data starting in 2007. In 2007, there were nine murders in the county, five of which are attributed to illegal aliens, which isn’t exactly something easily attributed to the efforts of a citizens advocacy group trying to reduce the number of illegal aliens unlawfully residing in Prince William County, Manassas, and Manassas Park.
Too bad the Washington Post didn’t use this opportunity to take a look at monthly crime statistics since the Rule of Law Resolution was adopted, the impacts on hospitals, whether there are fewer claims against uninsured drivers, changes in the number of complaints for overcrowded houses, or other statistical means of gauging the impacts of policy reforms in Prince William County. The only statistics we’ve seen so far is the reporting on declining ESOL enrollments, and occasionally some anecdotal evidence that residential overcrowding complaints are lower. There is statistical evidence out there, and comparing that evidence with what has been observed in Loudoun and Fairfax Counties might help identify what changes can be attributed to regional economic changes, and what cannot.
There’s a compelling story to tell, if only someone would dig up the information. I wish I had more time to dig that information up myself, but I’d rather see it uncovered by someone who is a little farther removed from a distinct interest in the outcome of those statistics than I am. Maybe the Examiner will pick this up…
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