Extending Immigration and Crime Studie National Implications and Local Settings
Public opinion and public policy often assume that immigration is directly related to higher rates of crime, but the social conditions of neighborhoods actually have a more significant effect on violent crimes than immigrant populations. This study examines the issue using local and national data over several decades. The researchers selected two cities affected by immigration in different ways during different time periods, as well as recent national data that compare violent crime rates to immigration concentration levels. They concluded that immigration does not necessarily mean more homicide, location and neighborhood characteristics were the most significant influencers of homicide rates. “Neighborhoods with higher levels of disadvantage experience significantly more homicides, including those that are gang- and drug-related,” wrote the authors. “Residential stability, percentage professional, adult to child ratio, and young male emerges (but the latter two in opposite directions) for total and gang homicide.” They feel their findings could be used to help direct immigrant crime prevention resources to other more influential areas, such as help to encourage Latinos to seek employment in professional occupations.