Charis E. Kubrin and Glenn A. Trager
Research on the immigration-crime link reveals that immigration to an area is negatively associated with crime rates or not associated with crime at all. This is consistently reported across studies that employ neighborhoods, cities, or metropolitan areas as their units of analysis. It is premature, however, to draw firm conclusions about the immigration-crime relationship as there are key omissions in the literature that may affect the findings to date. In particular, research has largely ignored the role of local community institutions. Studies fail to incorporate measures reflecting the policies and practices of the police, schools and school programs, labor centers, libraries, and other community organizations. Moreover, research has disregarded the larger policy or political contexts within which such local institutions operate. Addressing these omissions would provide further (and necessary) insight into the immigration-crime relationship. The practices of both authoritarian and integrative types of local institutions, shaped to a strong degree by the broader city-level context, importantly affect immigrants and their families, with implications for the immigration-crime nexus.