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

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  • Brian G. Knight
  • Ana Tribin

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Brian G. Knight & Ana Tribin, 2020. "Immigration and Violent Crime: Evidence from the Colombia-Venezuela Border," NBER Working Papers 27620, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:27620
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    Cited by:

    1. 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).
    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. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. 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.
    6. 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.
    7. 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.
    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. Kayaoglu, Aysegul, 2022. "Do refugees cause crime?," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 154(C).

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    More about this item

    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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