A new study from the Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice finds that as California went from having a population that was overwhelmingly white and native-born to a multiracial populations with large numbers of immigrants crime went down. According to the report:
As California’s population moved from two-thirds white1 in 1980 to over 60 percent people of color today (Table 1), the state has seen dramatic reductions in crime in each category…and California has weathered the national opioid epidemic better than elsewhere in the country.
The report notes that while many pundits and politicians associate racial diversity with high crime, the statistics in California show the opposite to be true. According to the report:
These trends have caught experts, officials, and interest groups by surprise. In the 1990s, leading criminologists predicted growing populations of youth of color would result in a “blood bath of teenaged violence” incited by “juvenile super-predators.” Similarly, in 2017, President Donald Trump is blaming people of color—specifically immigrants from Muslim-majority countries and Mexico—for causing increased crime, drug-related death, and “American carnage.” The President has also stated that “sanctuary cities” in particular “breed crime,” and that California is therefore “out of control.” However, California’s crime trends in the all-minority population era have proven to be more positive than the nation overall. This is especially apparent in California’s largest cities, many of which have established local policies, or must adhere to state policy, limiting cooperation with federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
In many ways, California is a mirror of the demographic future of the United States. The U.S. will be a country in which no ethnic or racial group forms a majority by 2040. That was true in California in 1998. “The racial and ethnic composition of California’s population has changed swiftly and sharply,” says the report. It notes that:
The white population has decreased by almost 30 percentage points since 1980 (from 67 percent to 39 percent) and, as of 2015, more than six in 10 residents are people of color (DRU, 2017). In terms of net migration (immigration minus emigration), 3.4 million people have immigrated to California from foreign countries since 1995 while two million U.S.-born residents, mostly white, have emigrated from the state. In addition, an estimated 2.6 million undocumented immigrants, mostly Latino, are currently residing in California.
While many on the Alt-Right would see that diversity as a recipe for carnage, in fact, the overall violent crime rate fell by 52% and the homicide rate dropped by an astounding 67% in California. The report concludes that the data;
contradicts claims that increasing immigration will negatively impact society, that “sanctuary cities” such as those in California’s “breed crime,” or that California is “out of control.” California, once a state with unusually high rates of drug overdose, gun violence, and crime, has demonstrated substantial gains in health and safety as its demographic composition has become more diverse.