How does immigration relate to crime perceptions and crime rates? Evidence from Europe

Bortoletto, Gianluca (2021). How does immigration relate to crime perceptions and crime rates? Evidence from Europe. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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This thesis analyses how immigration and migratory background relate to crime rates and crime perceptions. In order to analyse these links, two approaches have been employed. In the first approach, used in Chapters 2 and 3 of the present thesis, the link between immigration from fragile countries and crime rates have been taken into account respectively for the European context with a cross countries analysis and for the Italian context by employing province-level data. The second approach has been explored in Chapter 4 where the link between country of birth and the probability of reporting crime as a problem in the neighbourhood of residency has been analysed.

Chapter 2 has found no significant link between immigration from fragile countries and various types of crime rates in Europe, except for a negative link with robberies that, however, was not confirmed by the robustness checks. This result was contrary to the hypotheses outlined in the beginning of the chapter for which a positive and significant association of this type of immigration with violent and property crimes would have been expected.

On the other hand, Chapter 3 has found a positive, significant and robust link between immigration from fragile countries and mafia crimes. The finding does not support the hypotheses that immigration from fragile countries would have increased either violent or property crimes. However, it confirms the hypothesis, specific for the Italian case, for which immigration from fragile countries is expected to be positively and significantly associated with mafia crimes. The most likely explanation for this result – albeit not confirmed by the available data – is that immigrants are exploited by mafia organisations.

For migratory background and crime perceptions, Chapter 4 has shown that there is not a significant relationship between being born in a foreign country and reporting crime as a problem of the area of living. Moreover, the chapter has explored the link between the interactions of various measures of deprivation and concentrated disadvantage with the country of birth of the household head and the probability of self-reporting crime as a problem of the neighbourhood. Differently from the results of previous studies and contrarily to the hypotheses formulated at the beginning of the chapter, the interaction of country of birth of the household head, namely born in an EU member country different from the country of residence, and the condition of being a single parent with children has been found to be associated with a lower probability of self-reporting crime as an issue of the neighbourhood compared to a native. The explanation of this result might relate to the perception of what is a crime for an EU migrant compared to a native and for the social support that the migrant might receive in the area where she or he resides which might be an immigrant cluster.

Further research is needed in order to explain the reasons for these results. It would also be interesting to explore in more detail the link between immigration and crime by looking, for instance, at the geographical macro areas of origin of the migrants.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
Licence: All rights reserved
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
School or Department: Birmingham Business School, Department of Economics
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
H Social Sciences > HC Economic History and Conditions
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races


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