Thursday, June 10, 2010

More immigrants = Drop in crime?

Posted By on Thu, Jun 10, 2010 at 1:57 PM

There’s a new study, published last month in Social Science Quarterly, and viewable at ScienceDaily that will no doubt drive anti-immigrant supporters all kinds of bug-eyed crazy. The study tests ideas from Harvard sociologist Robert Sampson, who said the sharp drop in crime rates during the last two decades may be linked to the quick rise in immigration at the time. Conducted by University of Colorado professor Tim Wadsworth, the study suggests that growth in the new immigrant population “was responsible, on average, for 9.3 percent of the decline in homicide rates . . .and 22.2 percent of the decrease in robbery rates.”

The ScienceDaily story notes that sociologists have long suggested that “immigrant communities are often characterized by extended family networks, lower levels of divorce, and cultural and religious beliefs that facilitate community integration.”  Wadsworth adds that "criminologists have long known that these factors provide buffers against crime."

Wadsworth’s study flies in the face of generations of anti-immigrant rhetoric, starting with the Irish, Chinese and East European immigrants who came to the U.S. Today, that same rhetoric is in full flower among the anti-immigrant crowd.  Wadsworth, in the study, writes, "Although there has been scant empirical research to support such claims, they have persisted with little debate."

I’m not a sociologist nor a statistician, but the study’s conclusions certainly seem strong enough to at least deserve being looked into further. Meanwhile, that loud boom you may hear is probably the sound of anti-immigrant supporters’ heads exploding.

Actual, for-real, simulated anti-immigrant supporter's exploding head
  • Actual, for-real, simulated anti-immigrant supporter's exploding head

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