Scholars have always debated the relationship that exists between crime and immigration. This is because of the popular thinking that the influx of immigrants into a country, especially in the United States, contributes to a surge in crime in the country's urban areas. Researchers can be of help in tackling this issue by developing different hypotheses whose in-depth exploration would be able to shed light on the link between crime and immigration. This preliminary hypothesis proposes that an immigrant population does not lead to the increase of crime in the country they settle. This is because the composition of immigrants in any neighborhood where they are concentrated plays a substantial role in the rate of crime. The effect of the immigrant population is the lowered likelihood of committing crime meaning that the rate of crime in the neighborhood either stagnates or declines (Lee, & Martinez, 2009).
The preliminary hypothesis is informed by an empirical analysis that dwells on element of criminal behavior based on various economic variables. The economic model will be extensively applied in the hypothesis as every individual in the population is assumed to have the potential to commit crime although only a handful percentage of people turn to criminal behavior. The economic variables provide a strong correlation between crime and immigration although the crime in question is specific types of crimes that are not necessarily violent crimes. However, this correlation is weak although positive because it does not point out a specific pattern between the crime and immigration. Therein lies a testable hypothesis which can be evaluated to ascertain whether crimes resulting from the actions of immigrants can be attributed to available economic opportunities as well as the existing conditions in the labor market.
Variables like the level of education, age, and gender of the immigrants also play a crucial role in decreasing the levels of crime within a certain region with a high concentration of immigrant communities. Two crucial variables that come into play as far as the relationship between crime and immigration are concerned are the rate of unemployment and financial stability. These two factors are an essential yardstick of the availability of legitimate economic opportunities. (Alonso-Borrego, Garoupa, & Vazquez, 2012) The resulting hypothesis from this talking point is that the availability of better economic opportunities in the legitimate job market are reason enough to dissuade immigrants from partaking in criminal activity. As far as immigrants are concerned, their origin is also a variable that is equally influential in determining their likelihood to engage in criminal behavior. Race and ethnicity are weight points that cannot be ignored when it comes to profiling the origin of the immigrants.
This preliminary analysis presupposes that the relationship between crime and immigration is only logical in theory but different studies indicate that immigrants are less likely to commit crime or raise the rates of crime in the country in which they have settled. The economic conditions need to be right for this hypothesis to hold true. The economic model looks at the availability of employment and per capita income as the ideal measures of facilitating a crime-free immigrant populace. Needless to state, there are a few bad elements within the immigrant communities but the larger part of this population is in pursuit of opportunities where they can thrive. This preliminary hypothesis report has identified a testable hypothesis and various variables that can be used to expound on the economic model and how it is pertinent to the relationship between crime and immigration.
Alonso-Borrego, Garoupa, & Vazquez. (2012). Does immigration cause crime?: evidence from Spain. American Law and Economics Review, Volume 14, Issue 1, Pages 165-191. doi: 10.1093/aler/ahr019.
Lee, M. T., & Martinez, R. (2009). Immigration reduces crime: An emerging scholarly consensus. In Immigration, crime and justice (pp. 3-16). Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
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