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Immigration and crime refers to perceived or actual relationships between crime and immigration.


The Handbook of Crime Correlates (2009), a review of studies of correlates with crime, states that most studies on immigrants have found higher rates of crime. However, this varies greatly depending on the country of origin, with immigrants from some regions having lower crime rates than the indigenous population. In the US, studies have found lower crime rates among immigrants than among non-immigrants.[1] Other studies suggest that immigration generally does not lead to an increase in crime, and may in some instances, suppress such trends. [2]

Asia Edit

Japan Edit

Further information: Demographics of Japan and Crime in Japan

Because the relative proportion (but not the "total" number) of crimes by non-Japanese is substantially higher than those by Japanese, the public perception is that the influx of immigrants has led to the crime increase.[3] A large portion of crimes by immigrants are by Chinese in Japan, and some highly publicized crimes by organized groups of Chinese (often with help of Japanese organized crime) have led to a negative public perception.[4] While foreigners from Africa are outnumbered by Japanese natives by 4551%, per capita Africans are responsible for 3.5 times as much crime as Japanese natives.[5]


Further information: Immigration to Europe

A "new anti-immigrant" movement has become apparent in some European countries, especially the Netherlands, Scandinavia, and Switzerland, during the early 21st century. The issue of immigrant crime plays an important role in the political debate in these countries.[6]


Further information: Immigration to Denmark and Crime in Denmark

According to the figures from Danmarks Statistik, crime rate among refugees and their descendants is 73% higher than for the male population average, even when taking into account their socioeconomic background. A report from Teori- og Metodecentret from 2006 found that seven out of ten young people placed on the secured youth institutions in Denmark are immigrants (with 40 percent of them being refugees).[7]


Further information: Immigration to Finland and Crime in Finland

According to official statistics, 21.0% of rapes have been committed by foreigners in Finland.[8] Foreigners comprise 2.2% of the population.[8]

In contrast, the rape support helpline Tukinainen reports that 6% of all callers and 11% of 10–20-year-old callers say that the rapist was a foreigner.[9] Additionally, Finnish rapists are more likely to be known personally by the victim, increasing the threshold to report. Furthermore, there are great asymmetries between nationalities of rapists.[10]


Further information: Immigration to France and Crime in France

A 2006 study found that the share of immigrants has a positive and significant impact on the crime rate, confirming that a larger share of immigrants is associated with a higher crime rate. The data implies that this may be caused by the higher unemployment, and thus worse socioeconomic conditions among immigrants. However, unemployed immigrants are still much more likely to commit crimes than unemployed non-immigrants.[11]


Further information: Immigration to Germany and Crime in Germany

Immigrants in Germany are overrepresented in crime statistics. In Berlin, young male immigrants are three times more likely to commit violent crimes than their German peers.[12] The crime rate of immigrants is at first glimpse about 5 times higher than that for Germans (4,9 : 1). A differentiated analysis of the Bavarian police (Landeskriminalamt) shows that the relation of 4.9 : 1 drops to 2.7 : 1 if only the registered population of foreigners is taken into account. It further drops to 2.4 : 1 if offences that cannot be committed by Germans are taken off. If only 14–21 years old male juveniles and young adults are considered, the ratio is 1.9 : 1.[13]

Greece Edit

Further information: Immigration to Greece and Crime in Greece

Official statistics show that immigrants are responsible for about half of the criminal activity in Greece.[14] The Greek police have admitted that armed gangs entering the country from neighbouring Albania or Bulgaria could have been attracted by reports that many people have been withdrawing cash from banks and stashing it in their homes.[15] There are possibly more than 1 million illegal immigrants inside Greece as of 2012.[16][17]

Illegal immigration to Greece has increased rapidly over the past several years. Tough immigration policies in Spain and Italy and agreements with their neighboring African countries to combat illegal immigration have changed the direction of African immigration flows toward Greece. At the same time, flows from Asia and the Middle East — mainly Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Bangladesh — to Greece appear to have increased as well.[18]

The evidence now indicates that nearly all illegal immigration to the European Union flows through the country's porous borders. In 2010, 90 percent of all apprehensions for unauthorized entry into the European Union took place in Greece, compared to 75 percent in 2009 and 50 percent in 2008.[19]

In 2010, 132,524 persons were arrested for "illegal entry or stay" in Greece, a sharp increase from 95,239 in 2006. Nearly half of those arrested (52,469) were immediately deported, the majority of them being Albanians.[20]


Further information: Immigration to the Netherlands

Non-"white Dutch" youths are more likely to have contact with the police and be convicted of a serious crime than their "white Dutch" compatriots. More than half of Moroccan-Dutch youths aged 18 to 24 years in Rotterdam have been in trouble with the police for the suspicion of a crime. Young Antillean and Surinamese Rotterdammers are strongly overrepresented in crime statistics. Of them, 40 percent have been suspected. Of indigenous young people aged from 18 to 24, 18% percent already came in contact with criminal law.[21]Template:Better citation [22]

According to a 2009 study commissioned by Justice Minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin[23]Template:Better citation, of 447 criminal files, 63% teenagers convicted of serious crime are children of parents born outside the Netherlands. In the research, 447 case files of youngsters aged from 12 to 17 were studied. All the files involved cases in which the perpetrator was convicted of a crime for which the maximum jail sentence is 8 years or more. These were murder, manslaughter, robbery with violence, extortion, arson, public acts of violence and sexual crimes. The study did not examine whether the courts or police engage in discriminatory practices with respect to youths not of "white Dutch" origin.

The ethnic composition of the files in the study was: "White Dutch" - 37%; Moroccans - 14%; Unknown origin - 14%; "other non-Westerners" - 9%; Turkish - 8%; Surinamese - 7%; Antillean - 7%; and "other Westerners" - 4%.[23]Template:Better citation

Police data for 2002 that were linked to population data showed that 37.5 percent of all recorded suspects of a crime living in the Netherlands are of foreign origin (including those of the second generation). The proportion of these persons in the suspect population is therefore almost twice as high as the share of immigrants among the Dutch population. The highest suspect rates per capita are found among first (4.9) and second generation (7.1) male migrants from a non‐western background. Rates for so‐called ‘western migrants’ are very close to those of the native Dutch. In all groups, rates for women are considerably lower than for men, with the highest found among non‐western migrants (Blom et al. 2005: 31).[24]


The overall probability that a person living in Norway would be convicted for a felony (no: forbrytelse) was increased by about 0.5 percentage points for the immigrant compared to non-immigrant populations for felonies committed in the years 2001-2004. The incidence was especially high among immigrants from Kosovo, Morocco, Somalia, Iraq, Iran and Chile, and reached more than 2% in all these groups. In comparison, the incidence in the non-immigrant population was about 0.7%.[25]

Immigrants are also overrepresented in sexual crime statistics. In a news report in 2010, a spokesperson for the Oslo Police Department stated that every case of assault rapes in Oslo in the years 2007, 2008 and 2009 was committed by a non-Western immigrant.[26] This picture has later been nuanced, as only perpetrators in the solved cases were counted, and 4 of the victims in the 16 unsolved cases described the perpetrator as being of Norwegian ethnicity.[27]

The report shows that, of 131 individuals charged with the 152 rapes in which the perpetrator could be identified, 45.8% were of African, Middle Eastern or Asian origin while 54.2% were of Norwegian, other European or American origin. In the cases of "assault rape", i.e. rape aggravated by physical violence, a category that included 6 of the 152 cases and 5 of the 131 identified individuals, the 5 identified individuals were of African, Middle Eastern or Asian origin. In the cases of assault rape where the individual responsible was not identified and the police relied on the description provided by the victim, "8 of the perpetrators were African / dark-skinned appearance, 4 were Western / light / Nordic and 4 had an Asian appearance".[28]


Further information: Immigration to Spain and Crime in Spain

The rates of crimes committed by immigrants are substantially higher than nationals.[29] The arrival of immigrants has resulted in a lack of progress in the reduction of offences against property and in a minor increase in the number of offences against Collective Security (i.e. drugs and trafficking). In the case of nationals, their contribution to the increase in the crime rate is primarily concentrated in offences against persons. Econometric results confirm the result even after controlling for all the observed socioeconomic and demographic factors. A report indicates that a higher proportions of American, non-UE European, and African immigrants tend to widen the crime differential, the effect being larger for the latter ones.[30]

The same paper generally supports that labor market related conditions seem to supersede other potential explanations for the relationship between crime and immigration. However, given the limitations of the dataset and the available statistics of crime in Spain, the econometric analysis cannot exclude other alternative explanations such as ethnical related activities or misperceptions about the law. Cultural differences were statistically detected, endorsing the view that some communities of immigrants might not see Spanish criminal law as a body of rules that captures their own views of society.[31]

Spanish National Statistics Institute (INE) published a study that analyzes records in the Register of Convicted in 2008. The data shows that immigrants are overrepresented in the crime statistics - 70% of all crimes were committed by Spaniards and 30% by foreigners.[32] Foreigners make up 15% of the population.[33]


Further information: Immigration to Switzerland

In Switzerland, 69.7% of prison population had no Swiss citizenship, compared to 22.1% of total resident population (as of 2008). The figure of arrests by residence status is not usually made public. In 1997, when there were for the first time more foreigners than Swiss among the convicts under criminal law (out of a fraction of 20.6% of the total population at the time), a special report was compiled by the Federal Department of Justice and Police (published in 2001) which for the year 1998 found an arrest rate per 1000 adult population of 2.3 for Swiss citizens, 4.2 for legally resident aliens and 32 for asylum seekers. 21% of arrests made concerned individuals with no residence status, who were thus either sans papiers or "crime tourists" without any permanent residence in Switzerland.[34]

The term Ausländerkriminalität ("foreigner criminality") since the 1990s has become a politically charged term, with the populist "black sheep" campaign for the "initiative for the extradition of criminal foreigners" of the Swiss People's Party making international headlines in September 2007. [citation needed]

In 2010, a statistic was published which listed delinquency by nationality (based on 2009 data). To avoid distortions due to demographic structure, only the male population aged between 18 and 34 was considered for each group. From this study it became clear that crime rate is highly correlated on the country of origin of the various migrant groups. Thus, immigrants from Germany, France and Austria had a significantly lower crime rate than Swiss citizens (60% to 80%), while immigrants from Angola, Nigeria and Algeria had a crime rate of above 600% of that of Swiss population. In between these extremes were immigrants from Former Yugoslavia, with crime rates of between 210% and 300% of the Swiss value.[35]

In April 2010, the director of the Federal Office for Migration (BFM), Alard du Bois-Reymond, issued a statement on the large number of unfounded requests for asylum by nationals of Nigeria in particular. Du Bois-Reymond said that 99.5% of asylum seekers of Nigerian origin were abusing the asylum system, entering Switzerland with the intention of pursuing petty crime and drug dealing.[36] The Nigerian ambassador to Switzerland, Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi, objected to du Boi-Reymond's statement as an undue generalization.[37]


Further information: Immigration to Sweden and Crime in Sweden

Immigrants are overrepresented in Sweden's crime statistics. In a study by the Swedish National Council for Crime Prevention in 1997-2001, 25% of the almost 1,520,000 offences were found to be committed by people born abroad, while almost 20% were committed by Swedish-born people with a foreign background. In the study, immigrants were found to be four times more likely to be investigated for lethal violence and robbery than ethnic Swedes. In addition, immigrants were three times more likely to be investigated for violent assault, and five times more likely to be investigated for sex crimes. Those from North Africa and Western Asia were overrepresented.

The report is based on statistics for those "suspected" of offences, but Stina Holmberg of the Council for Crime Prevention said that there was "little difference" in the statistics for those suspected of crimes and those actually convicted.

"Slightly under 60 percent of the almost 1,520,000 offences ... registered during the period covered by the study can be attributed to persons who were born in Sweden to two Swedish-born parents," it said.[38]

United KingdomEdit

It was reported in 2007 that more than one-fifth of solved crimes in London was committed by immigrants. Around a third of all solved, reported sex offences and a half of all solved, reported frauds in the capital were carried out by non-British citizens.[39] A 2008 study found that the crime rate of Eastern European immigrants was the same as that of the indigenous population.[40]

United StatesEdit

The Handbook of Crime Correlates states that unlike studies outside the US, a majority of studies in the US have found lower crime rates among immigrants than among non-immigrants. Again, the country of origin may be more important than immigrant status itself.[1]

The Center for Immigration Studies in a 2009 report argued that "New government data indicate that immigrants have high rates of criminality, while older academic research found low rates. The overall picture of immigrants and crime remains confused due to a lack of good data and contrary information."[41]


Further information: Immigration to Australia and Crime in Australia

The only reliable set of published Australian data on immigrant criminality is based on imprisonment rates by birthplace. This data does show that immigrants of certain birthplace groups - Lebanese, Vietnamese and New Zealanders - are overrepresented in the criminal justice system.[42] Other groups of immigrants - those born in Italy, Greece and the UK - are underrepresented when compared to the Australian born citizens.[43]

According to police statistics, Sudanese and Somali-born Victorians are about five times more likely to commit crimes than the wider community. The statistics show the rate of offending among the Sudanese community is 7109.1 per 100,000, while for Somali people it is 6141.8 per 100,000. The figure for the wider community is 1301.0 per 100,000. While Somali,and Sudanese crime is extremely overrepresented, the overall proportion of crimes statewide committed by the Sudanese and Somali communities is 0.92 per cent and 0.35 per cent respectively, due to their lower population. For both Sudanese and Somalis, assault offences are the most common type, constituting 29.5 per cent and 24.3 per cent of all offences respectively.[44]

In 2010, a group of applicants of African descent, made allegations against several members of the Victorian Police, the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police, and the State of Victoria in the Melbourne areas of Flemington and Kensington. The case, named the Haile-Michael & Ors vs Konstantinidis & Ors case [2] involved claims about assaults, excessive use of force and an assault in detention, amounting to racial profiling and racially offensive behaviour that was unlawful under the Racial Discrimination Act 1975 (Cth). The applicants were able to prosecute the case with the assistance of the Flemington and Kensington Legal Centre, as well as through both parties consenting to a mutual cost-cap, formalised by the Federal Court under order 62A of the Federal Court Rules.

To assist with the case, an order of discovery was made in March 2012, whereby Victorian Police LEAP data from Flemington and North Melbourne (2005-2008) was analysed during the case by an eminent statistician, Professor Ian Gordon from the University of Melbourne. The study showed that young African people were about two and a half times more likely to be subject to an arbitrary “stop and search”, with this interaction with police more likely to be recorded, than their numbers in the area suggests. In addition, Dr. Gordon found that specified African males from the area were alleged to have committed significantly less crimes, on average, than males from other ethnic backgrounds and that specified males who are alleged offenders of non-African ethnicity were 8.5 times more likely not to be the subject of a “field contact” than alleged offenders of African ethnicity [3].

The case was settled on Monday 18th February 2013 with a landmark agreement for Victoria police to publicly review its training and ‘field contact’ practises, following the findings released in Dr Gordon's report. The review is expected to provide an opportunity for police to explore where racial bias can and does occur in policing and implement clear unequivocal cross-cultural training, policy and practice reforms to prevent it occurring in the future.

See alsoEdit


  1. 1.0 1.1 Handbook of Crime Correlates; Lee Ellis, Kevin M. Beaver, John Wright; 2009; Academic Press
  2. McDonald, William Frank. Immigration, Crime and Justice, Emerald Group Publishing.
  3. includeonly>French, Howard W.. "Disdainful of Foreigners, the Japanese Blame Them for Crime", September 30, 1999. Retrieved on April 30, 2010.
  4. includeonly>Wudunn, Sheryl. "Japan Worries About a Trend: Crime by Chinese", March 12, 1997. Retrieved on April 30, 2010.
  6. "Crime, immigration and safety issues have dominated Dutch political debate for a decade, leading to measures such as imprisoning asylum seekers, outlawing psychedelic mushrooms, mandating citizenship classes for immigrants and forcing people to carry ID cards." Associated Press, 18 November 2010. "The Swiss vote highlights the tensions across Europe with foreign immigrants arriving from Africa and the Middle East. France recently made it easier to deport foreign criminals and has already deported thousands of Roma living in the country illegally. New anti-immigrant movements in Scandinavia, Austria and the Netherlands, where anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders has a hand in government, have garnered substantial voter support. In Switzerland, where more than a fifth of the 7.8 million inhabitants are foreigners, the far-right SVP has long played on fears of surging crime rates, the loss of traditional Swiss culture and the abuse of the generous welfare system by immigrants to raise support for its xenophobic initiatives." UPI Europe 30 November 2010
  8. 8.0 8.1 Hannu Niemi. Rikollisuustilanne Suomessa — II.B.3. Oikeuspoliittinen tutkimuslaitos 2005. [1]
  9. Acts of sexual violence as reported to the Tukinainen Rape Crisis Centre helpline (Home - Tuesday 22.8.2000).
  10. Foreigners figure high in rape statistics (Home - Tuesday 22.8.2000).
  14. "Greeks confront crime wave amid austerity", Chloe Hadjimatheou, BBC News, Athens, 16 August 2012.
  15. "Greeks confront crime wave amid austerity", Chloe Hadjimatheou, BBC News, Athens, 16 August 2012.
  16. "Greeks confront crime wave amid austerity", Chloe Hadjimatheou, BBC News, Athens, 16 August 2012.
  17. "Greece: Illegal Immigration in the Midst of Crisis", Charalambos Kasimis, Agricultural University of Athens, March 2012.
  18. "Greece: Illegal Immigration in the Midst of Crisis", Charalambos Kasimis, Agricultural University of Athens, March 2012.
  19. "Greece: Illegal Immigration in the Midst of Crisis", Charalambos Kasimis, Agricultural University of Athens, March 2012.
  20. "Greece: Illegal Immigration in the Midst of Crisis", Charalambos Kasimis, Agricultural University of Athens, March 2012.
  23. 23.0 23.1
  26. Rekordmange overfallsvoldtekter Rekordmange overfallsvoldtekter. Norsk Rikskringkasting. URL accessed on July 13, 2012.
  27. Error on call to template:cite web: Parameters url and title must be specified Tanveer Hussain. Utrop. URL accessed on July 13, 2012.
  34. Ausländerkriminalität in der Schweiz
  35. Neue Statistik: Tamilen sind krimineller als Ex-Jugoslawen, Tages-Anzeiger 12 September 2010.
  36. Task-Force gegen Asylmissbrauch 11 April 2010.
  37. Nigerianischer Botschafter verlangt Aussprache mit Schweizer Bundesamtschef 29 April 2010.
  38. People with a foreign background behind 25% of Swedish crime
  39. Harper, Tom; Leapman, Ben. "Foreigners 'commit fifth of crime in London'". The Daily Telegraph. 23 September 2007. Accessed 21 September 2011.
  40. Johnston, Phillip. "Immigration and crime: the real results". The Daily Telegraph. 16 April 2008. Accessed 21 September 2011.
  41. Immigration and Crime Assessing a Conflicted Issue, Steven A. Camarota and Jessica M. Vaughan, November 2009,

Further readingEdit

Template:Race and crime

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