Crime is down, even in Arizona, without harsh laws toward illegal immigrants

Here is an unexpected bit of good news: Crime continues to drop around the country. Though many criminal justice experts had expected crime to rise during a deep and wrenching recession, the opposite has happened, according to The Wall Street Journal:

Violent crime fell significantly last year in cities across the U.S., according to preliminary federal statistics, challenging the widely held belief that recessions drive up crime rates.

The incidence of violent crimes such as murder, rape and aggravated assault was down 5.5% from 2008, and 6.9% in big cities. It fell 2.4% in long-troubled Detroit and plunged 16.6% in Phoenix, despite a perception of rising crime that has fueled an immigration backlash.

The early figures, from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, indicate a third straight year of decreases, along with a sharply accelerating rate of decline.

“It represents a break in the pattern of the relationship between crime increases and economic downturns,” said Richard Rosenfeld, criminology professor at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Violent crime rose nearly 5% in 1991, the FBI said.

The FBI said property crime fell 4.9% last year, according to the early data, from more than 13,000 police departments.

As the story notes, the drop includes Arizona:

In Phoenix, police spokesman Trent Crump said, “Despite all the hype, in every single reportable crime category, we’re significantly down.” Mr. Crump said Phoenix’s most recent data for 2010 indicated still lower crime. For the first quarter of 2010, violent crime was down 17% overall in the city, while homicides were down 38% and robberies 27%, compared with the same period in 2009.

Arizona’s major cities all registered declines. A perceived rise in crime is one reason often cited by proponents of a new law intended to crack down on illegal immigration. The number of kidnappings reported in Phoenix, which hit 368 in 2008, was also down, though police officials didn’t have exact figures.

Over at the libertarian Cato Institute, writer Griswold reminds readers that he’s been saying that all along.
Meanwhile, though, a group of police officials from around the country is worried about the plans some states have to emulate Arizona’s unjust — and perhaps unconstitutional — law. They say that brutal intimidation of immigrants will cause crime to rise. From the WaPo:

Arizona’s new crackdown on illegal immigration will increase crime in U.S. cities, not reduce it, by driving a wedge between police and immigrant communities, police chiefs from several of the state’s and the nation’s largest cities said Tuesday.

The new Arizona law will intimidate crime victims and witnesses who are illegal immigrants and divert police from investigating more serious crimes, chiefs from Los Angeles, Houston and Philadelphia said. They will join their counterparts from Montgomery County and a half-dozen other U.S. cities in meeting Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. on Wednesday morning to discuss the measure.

“This is not a law that increases public safety. This is a bill that makes it much harder for us to do our jobs,” Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck said. “Crime will go up if this becomes law in Arizona or in any other state.”

The delegation was organized by the Police Executive Research Forum, a membership organization of police chiefs that functions as an independent think tankin Washington. The group’s meeting with Holder comes as 15 states are considering their own versions of the Arizona law, which defines illegal immigration as criminal trespassing and requires police to request documents of anyone they stop and have a “reasonable suspicion” is in the country illegally.

I don’t expect any of these well-reasoned, rational arguments to stop the immigrant-bashing. The country is in the grips of an irrational nativism, made worse by the recession. The hysteria over illegal immigration will continue unabated, in Arizona and elsewhere.

270 comments Add your comment

Bake

May 26th, 2010
12:18 pm

Yet Obama’s home district in Chicago is still among the most violent areas in the nation. Amazing a man that has never had a real job, with one of the most violent, broke, uneducated, depressing districts in the nation managed to steal the Presidency.

jules

May 26th, 2010
12:19 pm

Since AZ is simply enforcing the Federal Law that’s already on the books, are you saying the Federal Law is “harsh,” CT?

common sense

May 26th, 2010
12:20 pm

Hey Cynthia,

If someone breaks into my house and I politely ask them to leave, am I being “harsh?”

Terrence

May 26th, 2010
12:21 pm

I don’t expect any of these well-reasoned, rational arguments to stop the immigrant-bashing illegal immigrant-bashing.

Fixed your typo.

ctucker

May 26th, 2010
12:24 pm

Bake, He STOLE the presidency? What planet are you living on?

Bubba

May 26th, 2010
12:29 pm

Well of course crime in Arizona is down — their illegal immigration population has been dropping for the past couple of years, due to the economy and stricter enforcement of immigration laws. It’s cause-and-effect. From the Arizona Republic story earlier this year:

Arizona has seen the sharpest decline in undocumented population of any state, losing 18 percent, or more than 100,000, of its illegal immigrants in 2008, according to a new government report.

Peadawg

May 26th, 2010
12:30 pm

Terrence, Cynthia hasn’t quite figured that out yet. Here you go Cynthia:

“Illegal, or unlawful, is used to describe something that is prohibited or not authorized by law”

Still don’t get the difference? How’d you get a Pulitzer again?

Granny Godzilla

May 26th, 2010
12:32 pm

I still think we need to be more vigilant at our northern borders.

I say stop all folks that look Canadian.

Does the Border Patrol have access to Canadian Bacon sniffer dogs?

Cynthia is Sexy!!

May 26th, 2010
12:43 pm

Carve the pumpkin any way you prefer…illegal immigrants are illegal immigrants and they are here illegally. Get them out.

Betsy

May 26th, 2010
12:43 pm

Having illegal immigrants in Arizona are crimes themselves. They are criminals. Period. Do you have no respect for our laws, Ms Liberal? Or do you just think “Anything goes” like the old hippies of the 60’s, and law and order be damned?

Dave R.

May 26th, 2010
12:45 pm

Great bumper sticker thought of the day on all the complaints regarding the new Arizona law:

“Liberals are right. The AZ situation is like Nazi Germany. Mexico is Germany and Arizona is Poland.”

Libertarian

May 26th, 2010
12:46 pm

1. Irrelevant if crime is down across the country. Is that supposed to make illegal immigration ok? Its still illegal

2. Maybe the LA police chief should worry about keeping the celebs in LaLa land safe and leave Arizona alone. States rights anyone?

3. CT- how is the immigration law “unconstitutional”? Please explain.

goober pyle

May 26th, 2010
12:49 pm

CT – what part of the word illegal do you not understand? I mean really….
Now I’ll ask my question from last week that you never answered…
Should people that live in the US illegally be punished? yes or no….
It’s a simple question – your a smart person – just answer it yes or no.

Granny Godzilla

May 26th, 2010
12:49 pm

Being the wild and crazy, cheap thrill seeker that I am…..I’m going to spend the rest of the week breaking stupid Georgia laws…..

All sex toys are banned. (Does Hersheys syrup count?)

It is illegal to use profanity in front of a dead body which lies in a funeral home or in a coroners office. (Damn!)

Members of the state assembly cannot be ticketed for speeding while the state assembly is in session. (Not fair!!!)

Donkeys may not be kept in bathtubs. (This might be fun to try)

No one may carry an ice cream cone in their back pocket if it is Sunday.
(Pew meltdown?)

NOW ARIZONA, has it’s fair share of dumb laws.

Hunting camels is prohibited. (Could Cheney bait a camel field?)

Donkeys cannot sleep in bathtubs. (that sounds familiar)

When being attacked by a criminal or burglar, you may only protect yourself with the same weapon that the other person posseses.(the same weapon or the same type of weapon?)

You may not have more than two dildos in a house. (battery operated jealousy?)

It is illegal to manufacture imitation cocaine. (good idea)

Any misdemeanor committed while wearing a red mask is considered a felony. (pointy white hoods ok?)

Point of all this….
I think Arizona just added to the dumb law list.

Thanks to the Dumblaw website.

Kamchak

May 26th, 2010
12:52 pm

11 posts in and someone plays the NAZI card

Gotta be a record.

goober pyle

May 26th, 2010
12:54 pm

Enter your comments here

Bake

May 26th, 2010
12:58 pm

he stole it by not admitting to the American people what he is, a Marxist. He scolded Hillary for her support of a “government take over” of healthcare, and look what he goes and does as soon as he’s in office. But his take overs didn’t just end with healthcare.

I live on the planet of reality. What about you CT?

ctucker

May 26th, 2010
1:00 pm

“I live on the planet of reality. What about you CT?”

I live on the planet where Obama can do no wrong and we can selectively enforce our laws.

Peadawg

May 26th, 2010
1:00 pm

Enter your comments here

Peadawg

May 26th, 2010
1:01 pm

“CT – what part of the word illegal do you not understand?”

All of it probably.

truthmattersfa

May 26th, 2010
1:03 pm

“I don’t expect any of these well-reasoned, rational arguments to stop the immigrant-bashing.”

Straw man argument classifying opponents of illegal immigration as bashing ALL immigrants: Check.

Cynthia, please google “straw man fallacy” and read the first link. It would really help you and make you not seem so unintelligent and uninformed.

“The new Arizona law will intimidate crime victims and witnesses who are illegal immigrants ”

Completely False. Any illegal immigrant who reports or witnesses a crime and wishes to share that information with a police officer will not be engaged in a “lawful stop, detention, or arrest”. Therefore, the law does not apply to them.

Granny Godzilla

May 26th, 2010
1:06 pm

T Town

May 26th, 2010
1:09 pm

Got an idea: all illegals have to join the military and would be protected by the DADT policy.

What was that????? Oh….never mind.

Tommy Maddox

May 26th, 2010
1:09 pm

The fact is that criminals cannot afford the cost of ammunition these days.

15 posts down and someone plays the “card card”…

Broken record…

Kamchak

May 26th, 2010
1:16 pm

24 posts in and my leg-humpers come out of their doghouses.

Tom

May 26th, 2010
1:17 pm

The Arizona law is a copy of the federal law. How is that harsh? Oh wait, they may actually be enforcing it, unlike the feds. Why does the left always ignore the ILLEGAL part of immigration. We want the best and brightest from around the world here, just go through the proper, legal channels to get here.

Joel

May 26th, 2010
1:18 pm

CT never lets reality get in the way of her arguments. For that matter she does not even bother with rational thinking.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

May 26th, 2010
1:22 pm

Good afternoon all. “Violent crime” is not a reason to target illegal aliens. “Violent crime” is a reason to target violent criminals, who mostly are not illegal aliens. Having established a level of ideological simpatico with our gracious hostess, I now have to disagree with her thesis; I will argue by analogy.

Ronald Reagan destroyed communism – admittedly with moral support from Pope John Paul and Margaret Thatcher – mostly because the communists thought he was crazy. Crime is down in Arizona because the criminals think the Arizona police are crazy. While I think the deviants wrong in their driving perception in both examples, it is the perception itself that leads to the unexpectedly good result.

Granny Godzilla

May 26th, 2010
1:32 pm

Rags

Reagan destroyed communism with “moral support” from JP and Maggie!

Yep, and the new runway at Hartsfield accomodates 1 flying pig every 4 minutes.

pat

May 26th, 2010
1:33 pm

You think AZ law is harsh, check out Mexico’s immigration policies and what they do to central american fence jumpers.
Second, I don’t see whas harsh. You illegal you illegal. I came here legally, why should I have to jump through hoops and law breakers get a pass. I know you want to pad the democratic party with votes, but this is the wrong way to go about it.

Granny Godzilla

May 26th, 2010
1:38 pm

pat

you mean Mexico’s old immigration policies?

they changed in 2008.

Ragnar Danneskjöld

May 26th, 2010
1:39 pm

Good afternoon Granny @ 1:32. I think there is little question that the communists thought Reagan crazy, and their misbelief that he would do anything (to destroy them) broke them. Just out of curiosity, did you think Reagan crazy, or did you just think he was all talk?

I'm Here From The Government and I'm Here To Help

May 26th, 2010
1:41 pm

ctucker seems to getting senile. We just discussed this a few days ago. WAKE UP CT!!!

Kamchak

May 26th, 2010
1:46 pm

ctucker seems to getting senile. We just discussed this a few days ago. WAKE UP CT!!!

How could we have done that? The WSJ that she cites was from yesterday.

LibraryJim

May 26th, 2010
1:47 pm

Granny @ 12:49.
I can see the reason for the camel ordinance in Arizona, or rather the historical reason. Back in the days of the Wild West, the government tried to introduce camels for the soldiers in the frontier, with the thought that since they were bred for desert travel, then they would be useful as mounts against the Indians in our desert areas. It didn’t work, but the U.S. Army then had about 100 camels with no use for them, so they were cared for at forts around the West, including Arizona. Since they were government property, it was illegal to hunt and kill them.

truthmattersfa

May 26th, 2010
1:48 pm

ctucker,

Just imagine how much fewer crime there would be if all the illegal aliens were removed from Arizona. It would be going down at an even faster rate.

LibraryJim

May 26th, 2010
1:49 pm

By the way, the soldiers who cared for these camels were a pretty disgruntled lot, since they had to lug hay and other feed to the camel pens everyday, back and forth. This was probably the source of the phrase “I walk a mile for my camels!”

(shamelessly stolen from the Disney movie about the camel project: “Hawmps”)

Tommy Maddox

May 26th, 2010
1:50 pm

Ooopie – someone’s thinned skinned just like their Messiah.

November’s coming.

Granny Godzilla

May 26th, 2010
1:50 pm

Rags

Iran Contra? Delaying hostage release? Sewergate? HUD bid rigging?

Crazy don’t cover it.

Granny Godzilla

May 26th, 2010
1:58 pm

Library Jim

Thanks…..I love that kinda’ stuff.

Kamchak

May 26th, 2010
2:04 pm

November’s coming.

Yep–as it does every year, humper.

You, however, may be wishing to slow down time.

Washington (CNN) – An internal Republican National Committee document obtained by CNN paints a damning picture of the committee’s financial standing compared to the past five election cycles.

The document, pulled together during a recent review sparked by concerns over RNC spending practices, said the committee had $12.5 million in cash on hand at the end of April.

By comparison, the average cash on hand at the end of April from 2002-2009 was $40.4 million. And that average includes the odd numbered years when there are fewer election contests.

Looking only at even-numbered years, this year’s $12.5 million end of April COH is less than one-third the amount the RNC had on hand on April 30 for the 2002 ($47 million) and the 2006 ($44.6 million) midterms.

Money is require to run successful campaigns.

I'm here from the government and I'm here to help

May 26th, 2010
2:09 pm

Kamchak,

Same “SUBJECT”!

Its hard work!

May 26th, 2010
2:12 pm

Seems like this issue has everyone pretty clear about where they stand on the immigration issue! However, I would like to raise a few questions.

First, we can all agree that the lack of control over our border is a basic flaw in our sense of national security, however, I never here this debate address the hundreds of thousands of small business owners who knowingly hire illegal immigrants to take advantage of the low wage labor! Would the flow of illegal immigrants be so pervasive if they knew they wouldn’t find work?

Second, can any of us really suggest that we “round up” all illegal immigrants (roughly 10-11 MM) and send them back? How? What would be the economic impact of deporting millions of people, many of them, who have assimilated into this culture, worked hard and paid taxes! Do we then buy them out of the houses they own? They cars they own? Perhaps cut them a check for all the social security payments they made each month! Not to mention the grinding halt our economy would face if we ’shipped out’ the labor force which is pre-dominately the force beyond the building of our homes and business’, the cleaning of our homes and the preparation of the food we joyously pay to eat!

This is not rational thinking! Even “W” knew better than that!! How about some thoughtful responses instead of the classic xenophobic mania!!

I'm here from the government and I'm here to help

May 26th, 2010
2:13 pm

AFTER 338-DAY GAP, OBAMA TO HOLD PRESS CONFERENCE, TAKE ‘MULTIPLE’ QUESTIONS.

Now that’s news… why the gap?

Wahoo

May 26th, 2010
2:14 pm

“The country is in the grips of an irrational nativism, made worse by the recession.”

Bull. To demand that our government perform some of its most basic functions, such as enforce our laws and protect our borders, is entirely rational. Shame on you to suggest otherwise.

I'm here from the government and I'm here to help

May 26th, 2010
2:16 pm

10% of the people are unemployed, what does your President do?

So what does $92,000 an hour buy you in food? If you’re President Barack Obama it gets you a plate full of hors d’oeuvres, a salad and ribs.
Mr. Obama’s 19-hour whirlwind Bay Area fundraising trip filled Sen. Barbara Boxer’s wallet with $1.75 million and he used a $17,600 a person dinner at the Getty Mansion in San Francisco to bring in the big bucks.
The president’s 80 dinner guests were treated to an elaborate meal prepared by chef Jennifer Johnson, according to SF Gate, who got the scoop on the menu.
Diners were treated to quail egg with caviar and salmon ceviche with jicama and avocado on a tortilla chip
as their starting hors d’oeuvres. Next they were served a spring onion-asparagus tartlet with Meyer lemon vinaigrette-dressed frisee salad.

Granny Godzilla

May 26th, 2010
2:21 pm

OH NOES! THE WORLD IS ENDING!

The President fundraises.

Call out the militia!

(see my buddy at 2:04)

Too funny.

ctucker

May 26th, 2010
2:25 pm

Thanks, Kamchak. Apparently, some of my commenters think I’m able to bend the time-space continuum

Josh

May 26th, 2010
2:25 pm

Cynthia,

I see what you are saying. I am starting to catch on to your philosophy. Since crime is down, lets relax the laws or no longer uphold the laws of this land. Now, I got you, Thanks for explaining what goes on in your mind. Heck, why have laws. Let all illegals into this country without going through the lawful process of becoming a citizen. Yea. I am on board! NOT!

Cynthia is Sexy!!

May 26th, 2010
2:27 pm

Not only is she sexy she also can bend the time-space continuum. What more could one ask for!!!