New Research Shows That Sanctuary Cities Don't Have Higher Crime Rates
There are approximately 550 sanctuary cities and counties across the United States that refuse to help U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement [ICE] in carrying out immigration enforcement duties. They argue that their assistance negatively impacts police relationships within minority communities, and that it's not their responsibility to enforce federal statutes.
President Trump has portrayed sanctuary cities as more dangerous than other communities and claimed in 2016, without citing any evidence, that such cities lead to "so many needless deaths." He has also tried on numerous occasions to cut federal funding to cities that refuse to cooperate with detainer requests from ICE.
In their recent paper, “The Politics of Refuge: Sanctuary Cities, Crime, and Undocumented Immigration,” published in Urban Affairs Review, Professors Benjamin Gonzalez O’Brien, Loren Collingwood, and Stephen Omar El-Khatib sought to answer the most controversial question within the sanctuary city debate. Is President Trump correct? Are sanctuary cities more dangerous than non-sanctuary cities?
Using data provided by the National Immigration Law Center and the FBI, the researchers looked at both violent and property crimes. They evaluated the data to answer two distinct questions; did communities become more violent after they became sanctuary cities and are they more crime-ridden than similar non-sanctuary cities.
Chicago Policy Review: "First, O’Brien et al. looked at individual sanctuary cities and compared crime before and after the passage of sanctuary laws. They found that the before and after differences in crime were not statistically different from zero. In other words, the passage of sanctuary laws had no effect on cities’ crime rates."
"O’Brien et al. found no significant differences in violent crime, property crime and rape between sanctuary and non-sanctuary cities."
"In an attempt to boost confidence in their initial findings, O’Brien, Collingwood and El-Khatib utilized a multivariate regression. This analysis showed which variables were strongly associated with crime rates in these cities. Poverty was associated with higher levels of violent crime; unemployment was associated with higher levels of property crime. Sanctuary status was not associated with any of the crime variables observed. Even when looking at how sanctuary status interacted with variables that might contribute to sanctuary laws in the first place—like percentage of foreign-born residents without citizenship or percentage of foreign-born Latin Americans—sanctuary status was not a good determinant of crime rates."
The researchers summed up their findings in their abstract.
Sage Journals: "We find no statistically discernible difference in violent crime, rape, or property crime rates across the cities. Our findings provide evidence that sanctuary policies have no effect on crime rates, despite narratives to the contrary. The potential benefits of sanctuary cities, such as better incorporation of the undocumented community and cooperation with police, thus have little cost for the cities in question in terms of crime."
While it is unlikely to end the debate, this study adds to a growing body of research that indicates that sanctuary cities are just as safe as other communities.
By: Don Lam, Curated Content