February 2, 2017

IMPORTING THE SUPERIOR NEIGHBOR:

Immigration and crime: What does the research say? (The Conversation, February 1, 2017)

[W]hat does research say about how immigration impacts crime in U.S. communities? We turned to our experts for answers.

Across 200 metropolitan areas

Robert Adelman, University at Buffalo, and Lesley Reid, University of Alabama

Research has shown virtually no support for the enduring assumption that increases in immigration are associated with increases in crime.

Immigration-crime research over the past 20 years has widely corroborated the conclusions of a number of early 20th-century presidential commissions that found no backing for the immigration-crime connection. Although there are always individual exceptions, the literature demonstrates that immigrants commit fewer crimes, on average, than native-born Americans.

Also, large cities with substantial immigrant populations have lower crime rates, on average, than those with minimal immigrant populations.

In a paper published this year in the Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, we, along with our colleagues Gail Markle, Saskia Weiss and Charles Jaret, investigated the immigration-crime relationship.

We analyzed census data spanning four decades from 1970 to 2010 for 200 randomly selected metropolitan areas, which include center cities and surrounding suburbs. Examining data over time allowed us to assess whether the relationship between immigration and crime changed with the broader U.S. economy and the origin and number of immigrants.

The most striking finding from our research is that for murder, robbery, burglary and larceny, as immigration increased, crime decreased, on average, in American metropolitan areas. The only crime that immigration had no impact on was aggravated assault. These associations are strong and stable evidence that immigration does not cause crime to increase in U.S. metropolitan areas, and may even help reduce it.

Posted by at February 2, 2017 8:02 AM

  

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