Report: Higher Immigration Does Not Lead to Higher Crime Rates

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A new report from the Annual Review of Criminology debunks the belief that more immigration leads to more crime. The authors of the report say:

In the contemporary United States, immigration is a vigorously debated public policy issue. This debate is heavily framed by safety and security concerns. One side of the debate advocates for restrictive immigration policy based in part on the contention that more immigration leads to higher crime rates. The opposing side rejects that view, suggesting the roots of restrictive immigration policy lie more in xenophobia and false stereotypes. Stripped of ideological differences, resolution to this debate seems simple: systematically examine the substantial and rapidly growing body of scholarship on the relationship between immigration and crime and arrive at whatever logical conclusion the evidence supports…In this paper, we seek to synthesize the recent generation (1994 to 2014) of research that investigates the immigration-crime relationship…

In answer to the question of whether immigration causes crime, the report says:

Overall, our narrative review reveals that the most common outcome reported in prior studies is a null or nonsignificant association between immigration and crime. Indeed, sixty-two percent of effect-size estimates reported in our sample are not statistically
significant at the 0.05 level. At the same time, although statistically significant effect-size estimates are less common than null findings, it is noteworthy that the majority of the statistically significant results are negative, suggesting that greater immigration is associated with lower crime rates. In fact, our review indicates that significant negative effects are 2.5 times as common as significant positive effects. 

 


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