Half of Latinos less likely to report crime to police, poll says
A newly published University of Illinois study shows that Latino are less likely to report crimes because local police are increasingly involved in enforcing immigration laws, leading to a sharp increase in deportations. Lack of reporting leads to violent offenders going unpunished and innocent victims taking on unnecessary risk that compromises their own safety.
The University of Illinois report was designed to assess the impact of police involvement in immigration enforcement on Latinos’ perceptions of public safety and their willingness to contact the police when crimes have been committed. Specifically, the report found that:
- 44% of respondents reported they are less likely to contact police officers if they have been a victim of a crime for fear they or someone they know will be asked about their immigration status.
- 45% of respondents indicated they are less likely to voluntarily offer information about crimes they know have been committed because they are afraid of the police officers will ask them or someone they know about their immigration status.
- 43% of respondents feel “less safe because local law enforcement is more involved in immigration enforcement”.
- 38% of respondents feel afraid to leave their home because local law enforcement officials are more involved in immigration enforcement.
As Congress continues its work on immigration reform, we urge them to keep these facts in mind and to promote policy that contributes to safer communities and restores the eroded trust in Latino communities. The full report [PDF] can be found here.
The study, authored by Dr. Nik Theodore at University of Illinois at Chicago, is based off of surveys of 2,000 Latinos in four major cities that asked about how police involvement in immigration affects their perception, interaction, and relationship with law enforcement.