Crime rates – real numbers not gut reaction

migrant worker by bradleykurtz

There has been an interesting trend in recent discussions indicating that there is a huge increase in violent crime due to illegal aliens. “Illegal Immigrants Crime Spree in WA.” shout the headlines.

Is this true or only what people want to believe? Well, for those that believe in their gut and not in reality will be disappointed by the data.

Real numbers display no support for an epidemic of crime, in America, in border states or in cities. There does not appear to be any correlation between the violent crime rate trends and the number of illegal immigrants in each state.

The numbers would indicate that anyone who thinks that there have been large increases in violent crime is simply wrong. In fact, there does not appear to have been even small increases in these numbers.

Looking at the United States as a whole, violent crime rates are way down from a decade ago. Then there were 523 violent crimes per 100,000. In 2008 it was 455.

It is very easy to get data that examines this question in greater detail. California, for example, has crime statistics going back farther than I frankly want to spend the time one. But we can examine the numbers from 2008, the most recent full year data is available.

Violent crimes numbers have gone down substantially – about 7.5 % – in California over the last 10 years. The homicide rate per 100,000 people is also lower. In fact, rape, homicide and aggravated assault are all down.

So, there is nothing in the statistics to indicate any increase in violent crime in that state. In fact, there has been a decrease. How about Washington State? There is supposedly an epidemic of crime here, although a story full of anecdotes about crime does not really tell much of a story at all.

Numbers from 2008 also indicate a substantial decrease (PDF) in violent crime in this state. The rate of 331 violent crimes per 100,000 people was the lowest since 1973. Thirty-seven years! There is no crime epidemic in this state. The rates are down almost 40% from their peaks in the 1990s.

The top 5 states by illegal immigrants per capita are California, Arizona, Texas, Nevada, and illinois. The Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that the violent crime numbers through 2008 are lower for all these states. Arizona had its lowest per capita violent crime rate since 1971 (447 per 100,000), California since 1970 (503 per 100,000) , Illinois since 1973 (525 per 100,000), Texas since 1984 (507 per 100,000) and Nevada since 2005 (724 per 100,000).

Louisiana, which has the lowest per capita levels of illegal immigrants, had a violent crime rate of 656 per 100,000, less than any year since 2004 and much less than the peak year of 1001 per 100,000. Other states with low illegal immigrant numbers have very similar numbers. Generally the highest rates were in the 90s and current rates have been decreasing for most of the last decade.

The states with the highest population of illegal immigrants have all seen their violent crime levels drop, in some cases to the lowest levels in a generation. So, not much of a murder spree happening on the state level that could be coupled with any trend in the populations of illegal immigrants.

There is simply no apparent correlation between a high per capita level of illegal immigrants and violent crime rates.The numbers do not support that contention.

Perhaps certain cities are hotbeds of illegal alien mayhem, as they spread terror in certain areas. Could be but not in a lot of cities you might expect. Well, LA has the lowest murder rates in 40 years. In 2009, 314 people were murdered. In 1992, it was almost 1200.

How about other cities? The FBI puts out nationwide statistics on crimes. LA had a murder rate of 10 per 100,000 in 2008. Phoenix had a rate of 10.5. New York had 6.3. San Diego had 4.3. Seattle had 4.8.

This compares with Philadelphia, which had a rate of 23 murders per 100,000 people. Or Houston, with a rate of 13.1. The city with the highest murder rat in the United States, New Orleans with 64 per 100,000 is also in the state with the lowest population of illegal immigrants.

The states with the highest levels of illegal immigrants have not shown an increase in violence. Not only does Arizona have the lowest violent crime rate in almost 40 years but that rate is lower than the United States average. There are 43 large cities with a greater violent crime rate than Phoenix, including San Francisco.

The numbers currently available do not support that there has been any increasing trend of violence caused by illegal immigrants.

I simply do not see any data that indicates there is a crime spree going on in America, in border states or border cities that can be tied to increasing illegal immigration. Crime rates have been going down, for over a generation in some cases, and the have continued to go down.


3 thoughts on “Crime rates – real numbers not gut reaction

  1. Stats are from 2008. Define “violent” and “violence”. If states don’t ask for identification, how do the officials know if they are legal or not?

    1. Are you saying that all of a sudden in 2009 there was a huge increase in violent crime in areas with large illegal immigrant populations? Where is your data for that? I would love to see it.

      There is no epidemic of crime in Washington State from illegal immigrants. The data do not support it.

      My point was that the best available data indicate that violent crime (murder, rape aggravated assault) is substantially lower today that at times when Immigrant levels were much lower. The statistics show a continuing decrease that in some cases are the lowest in a generation.

      There is no apparent correlation between the numbers of illegal immigrants in the state and the crime rate trends. If there were lots of illegal immigrants causing all the crime, you would expect to see some sort of trend.

      I have learned to try an use the best data available to make decisions rather than rely on my gut, since the gut is so easily manipulated. FOX news depends on doing the latter, as do many news outlets.

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