While immigration has gone up in California, crime has gone down. So says the Berkeley Center for Justice at UC Berkeley School of Law in a 15-page report compiling recent data from throughout California. In “Where Is the Fire? Immigrants and Crime in California,” author Barry Krisberg examines county-level data regarding immigration and crime.
“San Diego County received 258,973 foreign-born persons from 1991-2008 and its violent crime rate went down by 58 percent and the rate of serious property crimes declined by 35 percent.” Where Is the Fire at 5. Crimes rate dropped even more dramatically for Los Angeles County during this period: 68 percent for violent crime and 42 percent for serious property crimes while absorbing almost 1.4 million immigrants. Where Is the Fire at 7. Several other counties saw similar trends, Krisberg reports.
While Krisberg is careful to note that these data do not prove that the influx of immigrants results in decreased crime (several other factors are relevant), “these data offer no support for the assertion that immigration increases crime, particularly violent crime.” Where Is the Fire at 8. Counteracting the rampant depiction of immigrants as people who are especially prone to criminality, as this report does, is a worthwhile goal in and of itself.