Immigration Makes Cities Safer

Cities with large immigrant populations are some of the safest places to live, suggest the data and studies, especially those where the police “know how to work with [immigrants], not against them“.

The studies in question–including one extensive study by the FBI–go on to suggest reasons¬†why immigrants reduce a city’s crime:

This is not just a matter of random correlation being mistaken for causation. A new study by sociologist Tim Wadsworth [‚Ķ] carefully evaluates the various factors behind the statistics that show a massive drop in crime during the 1990s at a time when immigration rose dramatically. In a peer-reviewed paper appearing in the June 2010 issue of Social Science Quarterly, Wadsworth argues not only that “cities with the largest increases in immigration between 1990 and 2000 experienced the largest decreases in homicide and robbery,” which we knew, but that after considering all the other explanations, rising immigration “was partially responsible.” [‚Ķ]

So, yes, there are pretty compelling data to support the argument that immigrants as such‚ÄĒeven presumably “illegal” immigrants‚ÄĒdo not make cities more dangerous to live in. But what mechanism about such immigration makes cities safer? Robert J. Sampson, head of the sociology department at Harvard, has suggested that, among other things, immigrants move into neighborhoods abandoned by locals and help prevent them from turning into urban wastelands. They often have tighter family structures and mutual support networks, all of which actually serve to stabilize urban environments. As Sampson told me back in 2007, “If you want to be safe, move to an immigrant city.”



One response to “Immigration Makes Cities Safer”

  1. Kind of disingenuous piece, at least to take the angle it took and then for the authors to throw in that it “presumably” also applies to illegal immigration. Say whatever you want about the racist idiots who are in favor of the various regressive immigration policies but as a rule, their problem is solely with illegal immigration. You’d be hard pressed to find one who would deny the benefits of legal immigration.

    This study doesn’t really address the only contentious part of the debate.