During a political season like this one, some candidates claim that immigration leads to high crime rates, but a new study shows that immigrant neighborhoods actually experience LESS violence.

Based on assumptions that immigrants are more likely to commit crimes and settle in poor, disorganized communities, prevailing wisdom holds that the concentration of immigrants and an influx of foreigners drive up crime rates. Harvard University sociologist Robert Sampson wanted to find out if this was true, so he examined crime and immigration in Chicago and around the US to find out if increasing immigration really does lead to more crime and discovered that concentrated immigration predicts lower rates of violence across communities in Chicago, with the relationship strongest in poor neighborhoods. Not only does immigration appear to be “protective” against violence in poverty areas, violence was significantly lower among Mexican-Americans compared to blacks and whites.

Sampson says, “In today’s society immigration and the increasing cultural diversity that accompanies it generate the sort of conflicts of culture that lead not to increased crime but nearly the opposite.”

Art credit: freeimages.co.uk

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