Jacob Stowell and Stephanie DiPietro
Despite a substantial increase in scholarly attention to immigration and crime at both individual and aggregate levels, important gaps in knowledge remain. Much work has focused on the criminal behavior of immigrants, and comparatively little on their victimization. Given political controversies about immigration law reform, the dearth of research on immigrants as crime victims is a critical omission. A comprehensive review of the literature shows no association between increases in the size of the foreign-born population and increased risks to public safety. Analyses of the comparative homicide risks for foreign-born people compared with the American population generally, and for immigrant groups of different national origins, for 1994–2004, a period of exponential growth in the foreign-born population, reveal a number of interesting patterns with respect to immigrant homicide victimization patterns, both between groups and over time.
Luca Berardi and Sandra Bucerius
The literature on generational differences in crime and victimization in the United States and Western Europe reveals striking variations in patterns within and across racial and ethnic groups. By the turn of the twentieth century, scholars had already begun to disaggregate offending patterns across immigrant generations. Findings can be disaggregated by crime (e.g., homicide, violent crime, delinquency, and substance abuse) and types of victimization (e.g., nonfatal and fatal). Among the challenges in measuring generational differences in crime among immigrant populations are a shortage of available data that accounts for generational status, definitional issues with key terms such as “immigrant” and “native-born,” and both the need to and difficulties in disaggregating data by race, ethnicity, and types of crime.
Ramiro Martinez and Kimberly Mehlman-Orozco
Recent population changes, public anxieties, and political concerns about foreign-born newcomers have brought studies of immigration and crime to the forefront of criminological theory, policy, and research. A burgeoning body of research examines the effects of immigration on crime and patterned differences in criminality between immigrants and the native-born. A number of influential theoretical frameworks can be drawn upon to formulate predictions that immigrants are likely to commit a disproportionate amount of crime. The specialized literature provides data that supports the opposite conclusions—that immigration does not increase crime and that new immigrants have lower crime rates than native-born residents. More research examining the indirect effects of immigration is needed. However, immigrants rarely commit a disproportionate amount of crime. Politicians’ claims that immigration exacerbates crime problems lack empirically basis.