Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano is developing a comprehensive index to measure Southwest border security in a new way that looks deeper into the quality of life of Americans who live near Mexico, reports the Arizona Republic. Instead of just counting arrests and drug seizures, the new index would look at community concerns about environmental damage, economic losses, and feelings of personal safety. Napolitano told a Senate panel she has ordered Customs and Border Protection to work with outside experts and border communities to develop the index.
Border residents have long complained that traditional measures, such as state and local crime statistics, don’t show the harsh realities they’re experiencing. “This may include calls from hospitals to report suspected illegal aliens, traffic accidents involving illegal aliens or narcotics smugglers, rates of vehicle theft and numbers of abandoned vehicles, impacts on property values, and other measures of economic activity and environmental impacts,” Napolitano told the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.