Immigration, latinos, and crime: A ward-level exploratory assessment of Washington DC property and violent crime rates

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Purpose: Extant studies have shown immigration does not lead to higher crime rates, yet this fallacy persists. The aim of this chapter is to explore the relationship between crime and the presence and growth of the Latino and the foreign-born populations in Washington DC's City Council Wards. Methodology/approach: This chapter draws on Uniform Crime Reports data and Census information to compare and contrast crimes rates, the presence and growth of the Latino and foreign-born populations, and socioeconomic indicators across Washington DC. Findings: Violent and property crimes rates have decreased consistently since the mid-1990s despite the growth of the Latino and the foreign-born populations. While there are significant differences between crimes rates at the Council Ward level, they appear to be associated with persistent structural inequality: not the presence or growth of either group. Research limitations: This work is largely exploratory and descriptive. Results should be interpreted with caution. Future research should employ multivariate methods to systematically identify factors that most significantly and strongly explicate crime rates within and across DC Wards. Social implications: Preliminary findings suggest policy makers should shift attention away from scapegoating immigrants for social ills and focus on improving social and economic opportunities and the life outcomes of racialized subordinate group members throughout the United States. Originality: Little empirical research exists focusing on the relationship between immigration and crime in the nation's capital. This is a significant gap in the literature considering the recent rapid growth of the foreign-born and Latino populations in Washington DC.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-228
Number of pages30
JournalResearch in Race and Ethnic Relations
Volume17
DOIs
StatePublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Crime
  • Immigration
  • Inequality
  • Migration
  • Social change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration

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