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Study Looks at Decrease in Crime and Increase in Immigration

juvenile, San Jose criminal defense attorney

In the late 1970s and early 1980s, there was nationwide concern over the state of crime in this country. The United States was in the middle of its “War on Drugs,” juvenile delinquency was a serious problem, and certain cities become synonymous with violent criminal activity. Since then, communities from coast to coast have largely experienced a dramatic decrease in the overall crime rate, and even large cities are much safer than ever before. While there are many reasons for such an evolution, at least one study is suggesting that the flow of immigrants into the country—and California, in particular—may have something to do with the improvements.

A Whole New World

The Center on Juvenile and Criminal Justice released a study earlier this month that examined the change in the makeup of the population in California alongside the dramatic reduction of various crimes in the state. The study’s author, Mike Males, Ph.D., found that over the last 35-plus years, the state has become much more diverse and crime rates have plummeted, particularly among urban youth.

In 1980, the study reported, California’s population was two-thirds white—a bit lower than the national average, which was three-fourths white at the time. Today, that percentage had dropped in California to less than 40 percent, largely due to international immigration. The U.S. as a whole was 62 percent white in 2017. During roughly that same period, violent crime rates among urban youth have fallen more than 70 percent, with juvenile homicide arrests dropping by more than 90 percent.

A Better Society

Males points out that the social change is more than just lower crime rates. “California has demonstrated substantial gains in health and safety as its demographic composition has become more diverse and immigration has increased,” he wrote. He went on to point out that increasing diversity can occur alongside improving public safety and well-being, despite common claims to the contrary. Males did not claim that more diversity was the only factor driving down crime rates, but he believes his numbers are indicative of a topic that needs more research. He said that more study is needed to confirm that increased diversity is causally linked to better public safety.

Seek Legal Guidance

While juvenile crime has certainly decreased in California in the last four decades, it can be overwhelming if your child is facing juvenile criminal charges. Fortunately, an experienced San Jose juvenile defense attorney can help. Call 408-277-0377 to discuss your situation with Wesley J. Schroeder, Attorney at Law, today.


The California Story: Reduced Crime, High Immigration