Monday, March 11, 2013

So Are Immigrants Good or Bad For The Local Crime Rate?

I think if you were to ask most people what effect immigrants have on crime in a community you might hear pthe argument that "those people" will cause crime in a community to increase. But is this really the case? There was a story last week at NPR that might change peoples' assumptions about this.

"When a lot of immigrants come to communities, crime tends to drop," says Philip Kasinitz, who teaches sociology at the City University of New York Graduate Center. "And, of course, it's quite the opposite of what many people think."

Police statistics show that Sunset Park is much safer than it was 20 years ago. Homicides are down more than 90 percent. Crime rates have dropped all over New York City since 1990 — but especially in neighborhoods that have high immigration.


One very important aspect of policing a community with a significant immigrant population is for the police to build bridges with members of those communities. In the sleepy little burg where I work, not only does our department meet regularly with the NAACP, but we also meet with organizations representing the Latin American community, the Korean community, and a group representing people from the Pacific islands.

We are a very diverse community and having open lines of communications between these immigrant communities and the police helps immeasurably. Does your community have a significant immigrant population? What is your agency doing to build bridges with these communities?

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