Immigrant Sanctuary Policies and Crime-Reporting Behavior: A Multilevel Analysis of Reports of Crime Victimization to Law Enforcement, 1980 to 2004

Ricardo D. Martínez-Schuldt, Daniel E. Martínez

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Sanctuary jurisdictions have existed in the United States since the 1980s. They have recently reentered U.S. politics and engendered contentious debates regarding their legality and influence on public safety. Critics argue that sanctuary jurisdictions create conditions that threaten local communities by impeding federal immigration enforcement efforts. Proponents maintain that the policies improve public safety by fostering institutional trust among immigrant communities and by increasing the willingness of immigrant community members to notify the police after they are victimized. In this study, we situate expectations from the immigrant sanctuary literature within a multilevel, contextualized help-seeking framework to assess how crime-reporting behavior varies across immigrant sanctuary contexts. We find that Latinos are more likely to report violent crime victimization to law enforcement after sanctuary policies have been adopted within their metropolitan areas of residence. We argue that social policy contexts can shift the nature of help-seeking experiences and eliminate barriers that undermine crime victims’ willingness to mobilize the law. Overall, this study highlights the unique role social policy contexts can serve in structuring victims’ help-seeking decisions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)154-185
Number of pages32
JournalAmerican Sociological Review
Volume86
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2021

Keywords

  • crime reporting
  • Latinas/Latinos
  • National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS)
  • sanctuary policies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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