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Immigration reduces crime: an emerging scholarly consensus

Immigration, Crime and Justice

ISBN: 978-1-84855-438-2, eISBN: 978-1-84855-439-9

Publication date: 19 May 2009


Purpose – Previously we (Martinez & Lee, 2000) reviewed the empirical literature of the 20th century on the topic of immigration and crime. This chapter discusses developments in this body of scholarship that have occurred in subsequent years.

Methodology – This literature review covers recent empirical research associated with the emerging “immigration revitalization perspective.”

Findings – Recent research has become substantially more sophisticated in terms of analytical methods, including multivariate modeling and statistically grounded mapping techniques. But the conclusion remains largely the same. Contrary to the predictions of classic criminological theories and popular stereotypes, immigration generally does not increase crime and often suppresses it.

Practical implications – Our review of the literature challenges stereotypical views about immigrants and immigration as major causes of crime in the United States. Unfortunately, these erroneous views continue to inform public policies and should be reconsidered in light of empirical data.

Value – This chapter represents the first attempt to synthesize recent empirical work associated with the immigration revitalization perspective. It will be of value to immigration scholars and criminologists as well as general readers interested in the relationship between immigration and crime.


Lee, M.T. and Martinez, R. (2009), "Immigration reduces crime: an emerging scholarly consensus", Mcdonald, W.F. (Ed.) Immigration, Crime and Justice (Sociology of Crime, Law and Deviance, Vol. 13), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 3-16.



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