McFeely: Oil boom, not refugees, more responsible for spike in Fargo crime rate
FARGO-Well, this doesn't fit the narrative at all."FARGO CRIME RISES" bellowed the words at top of The Forum. Given the Refugee Derangement Syndrome afflicting certain city and county commissioners and many talk-radio listeners, one would expect ...
FARGO-Well, this doesn't fit the narrative at all.
"FARGO CRIME RISES" bellowed the words at top of The Forum. Given the Refugee Derangement Syndrome afflicting certain city and county commissioners and many talk-radio listeners, one would expect the story following the headline to read something like this:
"Some of the most serious crimes reported in Fargo rose by double-digits for the second consecutive year, fueled by an influx of lawless refugees forced on the city by the federal government and the America-hating multi-millionaire bureaucrats at Lutheran Social Services while innocent native Fargoans are cowering in their living rooms."
Instead, the article didn't say anything close to that. Citing Fargo Police Chief Dave Todd as a source, it said the rise in many serious crimes could be attributed to bad hombres moving here from the state's Oil Patch after the collapse of oil prices. It also said the rise in thefts is likely the result of the area's epidemic of opiate addiction. Addicts need to steal things to pay for drugs. Nowhere did the article say refugees or immigrants or people with unfamiliar accents or names that are hard for locals to pronounce are responsible for the rise in criminal activity.
Of course, the cynical reader will say, maybe that's because the reporter didn't ask the question.
So I did.
I asked Todd whether or not immigrants and refugees were responsible for the jump in serious crimes in Fargo, as some would have us believe.
The chief did what he always does when asked this question: He started with a disclaimer. Fargo police, he said, don't record a person's country of origin so that's not something they specifically track.
But, he added, based on the information he's gleaned from intelligence meetings, conversations with other police officers and other sources his answer is no, refugees and immigrants aren't responsible for Fargo's higher crime rates any more than any group of residents.
"Not disproportionately. Not any more than any other population, proportionally," he said. "Every population has a percentage of people who commit crimes. From the information available to me, the refugee and immigrant population does not have a higher percentage of criminals than other groups."
Well, dang. That kind of blows the whole "lock up your women and children, the refugees are coming" narrative.
Maybe we should have been worried about all the criminals attracted to the Oil Patch during its heyday instead. Drug dealers, after all, are nothing more than businesspeople, and they'll follow the money, wherever it might be. They weren't moving to Williston for the climate. With the oil cash no longer flowing, they've apparently moved to Fargo because there is demand for their product and money to pay for it.
Lock up your women and children because the dirtbags attracted by the oil boom are coming.
Doesn't quite have the same ring to it, does it? More important, it doesn't play as well politically. It's much easier to point a finger at a refugee than the goose that laid the supposed golden egg.