For the past 40 years, the presence of immigrants in US cities was correlated with a reduction in violent and property crime

In a new paper published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice, sociologists and criminologists from University at Buffalo (SUNY), the University of Alabama, Kennesaw State University, the State of Georgia, and Georgia State University review 40 years' worth of FBI data on violent crimes and property crimes, correlating this data series with Census data on the influx of immigrants to US cities.

The authors conclude that US cities undergoing net increases in migrants also experienced stable or declining crime rates for murder, non-negligent manslaughter, aggravated assault, robbery, burglary, and larceny.

Further, they found that there was "significant association" between the presence of foreign-born people in a city and a decline in crime -- the more foreigners, the safer the cities became.

In summarizing this paper’s results, the lead author, Robert Adelman (associate professor of sociology at University at Buffalo) said, “the empirical evidence in this study and other related research shows little support for the notion that more immigrants lead to more crime.” Indeed, this study appears to show that for the last quarter of the 20th century and the early portion of the 21st century, the presence of immigrants was consistently associated with drops in violent and property crimes in major US cities.

Urban crime rates and the changing face of immigration: Evidence across four decades [Robert Adelman, Lesley Williams Reid, Gail Markle, Saskia Weiss & Charles Jaret/Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice]

Influxes of immigrants associated with lower crime rates [Roheeni Saxena/Ars Technica]

Notable Replies

  1. But but brown people!! Who aren't Christian!!! Terrorists!!!!

  2. We have the HEADLINE! Why read the article?

  3. For the past 40 years, the presence of immigrants in US cities was correlated with a reduction in violent and property crime

    My point exactly. Immigrants are sneaky. What are they trying to hide? Is it all that crime? Yes. Yes, it is. It's all that crime.

    If the President of the United States of America doesn't read, do you really expect us to?

  4. While I think it is important to de-bunk notions that immigrants are disproportionately prone to crime and violence, I think it is dangerous to hang a whole pro-immigrant stance on it... If instead we found out that immigrants did commit more crime than their 'native' counterparts, would we all change our minds and chant "build the wall!"? No, we wouldn't. That's because there are ethical reasons for supporting immigration from a human-rights standpoint– especially refugees! Bullshit should be debunked, but the argument should be won on ethical grounds. Human rights beat difficult-to-prove social studies any day.

  5. While we might not be able to say, "Crime goes down because of immigrants," can't we at least say, "It's not true that crime goes up because of immigrants"? And if so, isn't that an important thing to be able to say, especially in our current blame-the-immigrants moment?

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