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Immigration and Violent Crime: Evidence from the Colombia-Venezuela Border

Author

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  • Brian Knight
  • Ana María Tribín-Uribe

    (Banco de la República de Colombia)

Abstract

This paper investigates the link between violent crime and immigration using data from Colombian municipalities during the recent episode of immigration from Venezuela. The key finding is that, following the closing and then re-opening of the border in 2016, which precipitated a massive immigration wave, homicides in Colombia increased in areas close to the border with Venezuela. Using information on the nationality of the victim, we find that this increase was driven by homicides involving Venezuelan victims, with no evidence of a statistically significant increase in homicides in which Colombians were victimized. Thus, in contrast to xenophobic fears that migrants might victimize natives, it was migrants, rather than natives, who faced risks associated with immigration. Using arrests data, there is no corresponding increase in arrests for homicides in these areas. Taken together, these results suggest that the increase in homicides close to the border documented here are driven by crimes against migrants and have occurred without a corresponding increase in arrests, suggesting that some of these crimes have gone unsolved. **** ABSTRACT: Este artículo investiga el vínculo entre el crimen violento y la inmigración utilizando datos de municipios colombianos durante el reciente episodio de la diáspora venezolana. Los resultados indican que los homicidios aumentaron en áreas cercanas a la frontera con Venezuela luego del cierre y la reapertura de la frontera en 2016, que precipitó una ola masiva de inmigración. Usando información sobre la nacionalidad de las víctimas, encontramos que este aumento se debe a homicidios que involucraron a víctimas venezolanas, sin evidencia de un aumento estadísticamente significativo de homicidios en los que los colombianos fueron víctimas. Por lo tanto, en contraste con las percepciones negativas sobre inmigrantes: fueron los migrantes, y no los nativos, quienes enfrentaron los riesgos asociados con la inmigración. Usando datos de arrestos, no encontramos un aumento correspondiente en capturas por homicidios en estas áreas. Tomados en conjunto, estos resultados sugieren que el aumento de los homicidios cerca de la frontera documentado en este artículo se deben principalmente a crimenes contra los migrantes y que se han producido en un entorno donde el arresto no refleja el mismo aumento, lo que sugiere que es posible que algunos de estos crimenes queden sin resolver.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian Knight & Ana María Tribín-Uribe, 2020. "Immigration and Violent Crime: Evidence from the Colombia-Venezuela Border," Borradores de Economia 1121, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
  • Handle: RePEc:bdr:borrec:1121
    DOI: https://doi.org/10.32468/be.1121
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    Cited by:

    1. Seung‐hun Chung & Jung Bae, 2022. "Does refugee inflow affect urban crime? Evidence from the U.S. Indochinese refugee resettlement," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 88(3), pages 951-990, January.
    2. José Pulido & Alejandra Varón, 2020. "Misallocation of the Immigrant Workforce: Aggregate Productivity Effects for the Host Country," Borradores de Economia 1135, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    3. Julian Martinez-Correa & Leonardo Peñaloza Pacheco & Leonardo Gasparini, 2020. "Latin American Brotherhood? Immigration and Preferences for Redistribution," CEDLAS, Working Papers 0268, CEDLAS, Universidad Nacional de La Plata.
    4. Ibanez, Ana Maria & Rozo, Sandra V. & Bahar, Dany, 2020. "Empowering Migrants: Impacts of a Migrant's Amnesty on Crime Reports," IZA Discussion Papers 13889, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Federico Maggio & Carlo Caporali, 2022. "Violence and migration: The role of police killings in the Venezuelan diaspora," French Stata Users' Group Meetings 2022 04, Stata Users Group.
    6. Clotilde Mahé & Sergio Parra-Cely, 2021. "Panic? Probing Angst over Immigration and Crime," DEM Discussion Paper Series 21-04, Department of Economics at the University of Luxembourg.
    7. Kayaoglu, Aysegul, 2022. "Do refugees cause crime?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 154(C).
    8. Federico Maggio & Carlo Caporali, 2022. "Violence and Migration. The Role of Police Killings in the Venezuelan Diaspora," BEMPS - Bozen Economics & Management Paper Series BEMPS92, Faculty of Economics and Management at the Free University of Bozen.
    9. Lebow Jeremy, 2022. "The labor market effects of Venezuelan migration to Colombia: reconciling conflicting results," IZA Journal of Development and Migration, Sciendo & Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 13(1), pages 1-49, January.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Crime; Migration; Venezuela; Crimen; Migración; Venezuela;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • J15 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Economics of Minorities, Races, Indigenous Peoples, and Immigrants; Non-labor Discrimination
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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