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

Could it be (no, I’ve not read the paper yet) that immigrants are less likely to report crime?

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I’ll have to read it later :wink:

But I’ve seen crime stats from several years ago to recently that already discredited the hype the immigrants are all MS-13 members or the like. Even the often disparaged Hispanic illegals had a crime rate inline with everyone else.


What are the chances this article would make a whit of difference if President Bannon even read it?


I have not read the paper - just this post.

Still - I think this correlation is pretty weak evidence.

It is my understanding that other studies have shown a drop in crime over the same period (in large cities) is due to a reduction in the number of youth.

So there are lots of things correlated with the drop in crime.

Cities attract lots of people, including immigrants - that is why they have such large populations.

Perhaps another study will show that large amounts of concrete lower the crime rate.


And thanks for joining to let us know how you feel!

Stick around, you’ll find your views supported or derided based primarily on their factuality and real-world evidence. :slight_smile:


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.


I’m spamming the like button, but it still says 1.


Facts? We don need no stinkin facts roun here!

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Haha thanks @Boundegar


This paper is a synthesis of 137 other papers, which is more than I can chew in one work day while still remaining gainfully employed.

But I just speed-read it, and I didn’t find anywhere that it unequivocally states that the tendency for immigrant communities to self-police undocumented immigrants, resulting in lower rates of reported crime, has been compensated for. It seems I would have to read dozens of other papers to find out. Nor can I find any place where it unequivocally states whether we are talking about absolute or per capita numbers of criminal acts.

So I’m going to go with the headline, which is not especially meaningful since it elides any difference between per capita and absolute numbers.

All that said: the headline conforms with my own experiences dealing with immigrant communities, both legal and illegal. People who have the gumption to move to another country are well above average in a number of ways, and hard-working, capable people rarely need to resort to crime to achieve their goals. People who are too stupid, lazy or soft to “vote with their feet” are more likely to commit crime.


What? No it is not. From their methods section

"Data and methods

For this study, we drew a stratified sample of 200 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSAs) as defined in the 2010 census. We stratified the sample based on region and population size, and thus the sample is representative of the regional distribution of U.S. metropolitan areas. In our sample, all metropolitan areas with a population of one million or more are included, and we chose smaller ones (population 75,000 to one million) with an equal probability of selection method. We matched MSAs over time, merging or separating county-level data as necessary and where possible to account for changes in MSA geographies over time. Without missing data our sample would consist of 1,000 observations (200 for each year under observation). However, due to missing values on both independent and dependent variables, the number of observations for specific years changes."


When I read it, I found it impossible to determine the meanings of many statements without consulting the referenced papers. That being said, the papers referenced appear to be reputable - it’s just that there’s 137 of them in the biblio.

EDIT: And I read it far too quickly to get a really good comprehension of it, too, so I’ll admit to speaking from multiple layers of ignorance! Thanks for the critique and excerpt.


I completely agree - we need to destroy the notion that there is some amount of criminal activity that can justify dehumanization.
We shouldn’t just try to change the criteria for being human from one set of words to another, “black and brown” to “criminals and illegals”, and “white” to “citizens”, or say “these people aren’t even doing anything criminal”, we need to actually get rid of the idea that we can dehumanize humans.

Otherwise those words are just a cover for the same biases, or whatever new hatred we create to justify new wars.


IF you were to read the paper, you would see that they review a number of hypotheses for why immigrants commit fewer crimes than native-born citizens and why places with large numbers of immigrants have lower crime rates. They hypothesize that, all else being equal, immigrants will lower crime rates and they try to control for many other confounding factors (income, age structure, economic structure).

The graph Cory posted isn’t the main take-home of this paper. It’s their regression results that show a constant negative relationship between % foreign born and crime rate, even when controlling for other factors. Now correlation is not causation, certainly. We can’t exactly set up a manipulative experiment to test the hypothesis directly. However, a relationship underpinned by a falsifiable a priori hypothesis carries a lot more weight that a relationship just interpreted post-hoc.

My biggest criticism of their paper, having read it, would be that they don’t make much of the weak fit between their model and different crime rates. So while immigration does seem to have a consistent negative effect on crime rate, the magnitude of that effect isn’t massive and there is a lot of unexplained variance.

Edit: The other big take home is that immigration doesn’t increase crime.


The empirical studies cited in the paper suggest just the opposite - that the crime rate among the foreign born population is lower than the general population.


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?


Yes, I realize that– that’s good… I was saying that even if the data showed the opposite, there are strong reasons to defend immigration… Whether a group of people commit more or less crime is irrelevant to their deserving of human rights. Creating a debate around whether immigrants commit more or less crime in a sense actually cedes ground to the opponents of immigration. I guess it’s important to counter blatant lies with fact, but it’s also important to not let the debate stray too far from the core ethical considerations.


This pretty much sums it up.
Kind of like moving to America from another country and being shocked to discover that not everybody is well educated and well travelled. This works both ways of course, just talk to any random collection of folks on the street in Shanghai!


Shh! You’re giving away the secrets of power!


Funny that picking apples and peaches does nothing to the crime rate, but picking cherries works every time. Heck, handwaving at cherries seems to work well enough. It is my understanding the cherry scent calms the criminal impulse, isn’t that why youth medicines are flavored that way?