This seems pretty obvious to me, but I’m sure this information will come as a shock to those who think that gangs of illegal Mexicans and Central Americans are plotting to move next door in order to steal their silver, tip their trash cans and rape their dogs.
Harvard University sociologist Robert Sampson examined crime and immigration in Chicago and around the United States to find the truth behind the popular perception that increasing immigration leads to crime.
Sampson’s study results, detailed in the winter issue of the American Sociological Association’s Contexts magazine, summarizes patterns from seven years’ worth of violent acts in Chicago committed by whites, blacks and Hispanics from 180 neighborhoods of varying levels of integration. He also analyzed recent data from police records and the U.S. Census for all communities in Chicago.
Based on assumptions that immigrants are more likely to commit crimes and settle in poor, disorganized communities, prevailing wisdom holds that the concentration of immigrants and an influx of foreigners drive up crime rates.
However, Sampson shows that concentrated immigration predicts lower rates of violence across communities in Chicago, with the relationship strongest in poor neighborhoods.
Reasons commonly cited for the apparent paradox of first generation immigrants, especially Mexicans, are motivation to work, ambition and a desire not to be deported, characteristics that predispose them to low crime. Sampson also argues that contemporary immigrants tend to come from a multitude of cultures around the world where violence isn’t rewarded as a strategy for establishing reputation or preserving honor, as in American “street culture.”
“In today’s society,” Sampson said, “immigration and the increasing cultural diversity that accompanies it generate the sort of conflicts of culture that lead not to increased crime but nearly the opposite.”
It seems logical to me and the reasoning is an argument I have used with those who are against immigration reform, but it’s nice to read that the numbers back my theory.