Gaging how safe a community is boils down to uniform crime reporting, also known as UCR statistics.
Every law enforcement agency in the United States reports crimes using this format to the FBI.
Action 4 News obtained a copy of a hidden video taken by a former Hidalgo County Sheriff Deputy in the beginning of 2012.
In the video, the former deputy and the alleged departments crime analyst discuss UCR statistics.
They TMre changing the stats? the former deputy asked.
I guess cause they TMre the ones changing everything, the crime analyst replied.
The former deputy who wishes to remain anonymous because of pending litigation told Action 4 News crime statistics are constantly being downgraded to make Hidalgo County appear safer.
According to security expert Rich Roth, downgrading crime statistics isn TMt something new.
It TMs not something new, it TMs done by every police department out there, Roth said.
Sheriff Lupe Trevino would not comment on the video but did tell Action 4 News crime has dropped significantly since he TMs been in office.
Our violent crime, for the fourth year in a row, is at its lowest rate, Trevino said.
The Rio Grande Valley is one of the fastest growing areas in the U.S. and it's location on the border brings in a different set of crimes less common across the country like home invasions and aggravated kidnappings.
The county is growing, when the county grows, crime is going to grow with it, but they are telling people its safe, the former deputy said.
Crime statistics are also used to gage whether the border is safe, which ultimately affects federal funding coming into the Valley.
If it TMs proven to be true, it TMs going to have a lot of implications for border security in general, said Border Patrol union spokesperson Chris Cabrera.
Cabrera told Action 4 News Border Patrol is suffering major cuts right now.
We showed him the hidden video.
A lot of people believe the border is secure, but it TMs not until you get down here and see what TMs going on and then you see evidence of people who are actually fudging the numbers it TMs not a good thing Cabrera said.
Sheriff Trevino told Action 4 News the video has no credibility and that it TMs ridiculous that anyone would suggest his department would change the stats.
The former deputy told Action 4 News he contacted the FBI and Texas Rangers with the video.