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The Relationship between Immigration Status and Victimisation: Evidence from the British Crime Survey

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Abstract

This study, using data from the BCS, examines whether victimization patterns are different between immigrants and natives. We first find that the risk of a burglary or a personal theft is higher for immigrants, but this can be well explained by the fact that immigrants exhibit some demographic characteristics associated with higher victimization. Contrary to the above, we interestingly find that immigrants are of lower risk of violent victimization. As violence is an expressive type of crime, where interactions between victim-offnder pairs prior to the crime act matter much more than instrumental crime, the lower risk of violence faced by immigrants could be attributed to di?erent lifestyle choices associated with lower victimization risks. However, a closer investigation, decomposing violence in three crime types (domestic crime, crime by acquaintances and crime by strangers), shows that this difference is driven by the lower crime they suffer by acquaintances and by family members, as there is no association for crime by strangers, which is not consistent with the previous hypothesis. Nevertheless, using two different approaches, we show that the aforementioned (unexpected) difference is not because of 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 victimiza- tion by acquaintances could be because more recent immigrants have a smaller number of acquaintances. However, we argue that if this kind of “network” effect exists, it is actually quite weak. Therefore, all evidence of this study suggests that indeed, immigrants face a lower risk of violent victimization because they follow lifestyles associated with a lower exposure to criminal activities. Finally, using several count data models we examine whether immigrants are disproportionately victims of repeated crimes. However, the results showed that patterns of repeated victimization are generally the same between immigrants and natives.

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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusUnpublished - Aug 2012
Peer-reviewedNo
EventEEA/ESEM 2012, Malaga - Malaga
Duration: 1 Aug 2012 → …

Conference

ConferenceEEA/ESEM 2012, Malaga
CityMalaga
Period1/08/12 → …

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