A Harvard professor, Robert J. Sampson, argues that immigration lowers crime rates.
New York city has a significantly higher proportion of foreigners than other east coast cities such as Boston, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington D.C. Among the bunch, Sampson’s study shows that NYC is also the only metropolitan area that hasn’t seen an increase in homicide rates since 2002. Sampson thus suggests that cities like New York and Los Angeles benefit from the vibrant ambiance and hard-working attitudes that immigrants bring with them to America.
Despite Sampson’s optimism, others attribute New York’s stabling homicide rate to its stricter gun control laws. Of course, everyone with a political hobby horse uses crime stats to further their agenda, and a brief leafing through Darrell Huff’s classic book, ‘How to Lie with Statistics’ teaches us to be extremely wary of anyone who tries to talk over our heads using numbers. The most creative twisting I’ve seen of crime numbers comes from the best-selling economist Steven Levitt, who attributes the drop in crime rates we saw in the 1990s to the abortions facilitated by the Roe v. Wade ruling two decades earlier.
I’m still mulling over exactly where I stand on immigration, but I know I’m far less ticked off about foreigners than Ann Coulter, who basically believes that under no circumstances should anyone outside the country be allowed in.