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John Petro

Immigration: The Crime Fighter?

A number of police chiefs from across the country have issued a warning about Arizona’s new immigration law: it could lead to an increase in crime.

“Arizona's law will intimidate crime victims and witnesses who are illegal immigrants and divert police from investigating more serious crimes, chiefs from Los Angeles, Houston and Philadelphia said.”

These are the same concerns that have led some cities to issue municipal identification cards. By giving all residents access to official identification cards, cities allow immigrant communities to feel more comfortable interacting with police officers and other public officials.

And in other news about immigration and crime, the Wall Street Journal reports on a new study that links New York City’s dramatic decrease in crime with rising immigrant populations.

According to the study’s author, “The cities that experience the greatest growth in immigration were the same one that were experiencing the greatest declines in violent crime… While I don’t think I or anyone else will argue that immigration can explain the bulk of the crime drop, it seems like this is an important piece of the puzzle.”

This is consistent with some of the conclusions drawn by Andrew Karmen, criminology professor and author of New York Murder Mystery, which examines the crime crash of the mid-1990s in New York City.

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Posted at 10:34 AM, May 28, 2010 in Urban Affairs
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