As the U-S border police in San Diego are enjoying their success in deterring illegal border crossings, countries such as Israel have come to see how it’s done and are sharing some of their experience too.
Six Israeli border commanders came to talk about the latest in border control technology and strategies that work in deterring crime.
Israeli and California borders have much in common.
They both work to prevent high levels of violent crime on the border.
They both are attempting to deter large numbers of people who want to cross.
They both want to do so as humanely as possible.
This weekend, six Israeli border control commanders travelled to Southern California to share information on how to stop violence and people with violent intentions before they cross the border.
SOUNDBITE: (Hebrew) Translator
“It is very important for us to cooperate with whoever wants to help us and teach us new methods of activity, just as well as we are trying to share our opinions with others who come to visit us, for example, the head of the American Border Patrol came over to Israel a year and a half ago and his deputy came over like two months ago and they learned from us our methods of activity. And it is very important to us to share opinions and methods in order to develop our system.
SUPER CAPTION: Israel Sadan, Israeli Visitor
The Israelis said they were particularly impressed by U-S use of horseback patrols and sniffer dogs.
The San Diego border patrol has attracted a great deal of interest because of its enormous success in reducing arrests in recent years.
In 1995, the San Diego border control arrested over half a million out of 1.3 million total arrests of people attempting to cross illegally.
This year, San Diego arrests are down by 50 percent.
Border agents credit their success to Operation Gatekeeper – part of a computer system that tracks all illegal crossers.
By fingerprinting each detainee, the border patrol can catch repeat offenders, people who attempt to cross several times, and wanted drug smugglers or criminals.
Making it more difficult to cross means fewer people will try it.
U-S border agents learned about the Israeli system on a trip to Israel last year.
The Israelis have a slight advantage over the U-S because they use a national identification card for information about detainees – something the U-S does not have.
In San Diego, the Israelis were particularly interested in the U-S use of sensors that detect movement and heat in the borders’ dark canyons and in their night vision equipment.
The border control has already hosted a large number of countries interested in their success.
“People from all over the world come here to see what it is we do, and how we do it. We’ve had the Israelis visit us several times, we’ve had the Chinese Border Police, we’ve had immigrations officials from Thailand, from Japan, the German Border Police representatives have been here numerous times, and as well as media from around the world. So, we are very in favor in exchanging information with other people, with other agencies specially in showing people how we do, what we do here in the US Border Patrol.”
SUPER CAPTION: Jim Pilkington, U-S Border Patrol Agent
Although San Diego has only 66 miles out of a 2,000 mile long border, they have long had an inordinate share of the crime.
Now they seem to be having an equally large measure of success.
The thousands of people who used to wait to cross south of the border are gone, as are the rapes and robberies inflicted on the illegal immigrants.
Officials say the reason that crime is down is because it is harder to cross now than it has ever been in history.
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