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Immigration Status and Victimization: Evidence from the British Crime Survey

  • Georgios Papadopoulos

    (University of East Anglia)

This study, using data from the British Crime Survey (BCS), examines the microrelationship between immigration and victimization. We first find that, although immigrants are more likely to suffer property crimes than natives, this is well explained by the fact that immigrants exhibit demographic characteristics associated with higher victimization. Contrary to the above, immigrants are of lower risk of violent victimization. As violence is an expressive type of crime, where interactions between victim-offender pairs prior to the incident matter more than instrumental crime, the lower risk of violence can be attributed to different lifestyle choices associated with lower victimization risks. However, a closer investigation, decomposing violence in domestic, by acquaintances and by strangers crime, shows that this difference is driven by the lower crime immigrants suffer by acquaintances and by family members, which is not consistent with the `different-lifestyles' hypothesis. Nevertheless, we show that the aforementioned (unexpected) difference cannot be attributed to higher under-reporting by immigrants. We further show, that if immigrants did not face racially motivated crime, they would also face a significantly lower risk of victimization by strangers. Finally, we examine whether the lower victimization by acquaintances could be because more recent immigrants have fewer acquaintances. However, we argue that if this kind of `network' effect exists, it is actually quite weak. Therefore, all evidence suggests that indeed, immigrants face a lower risk of violent victimization because of lifestyles associated with a lower exposure to crime. Finally, using count data models we examine whether immigrants are disproportionately victims of repeat crimes. However, the results show that patterns of repeat victimization are generally the same between immigrants and natives.

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Paper provided by School of Economics, University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK. in its series University of East Anglia Applied and Financial Economics Working Paper Series with number 042.

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Date of creation: Apr 2013
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Handle: RePEc:uea:aepppr:2012_42
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