In one of the worst economies in American history, and definitely the worst in modern American history, one might expect crime to be on the rise. People are angry, sad, and cynical about the future, and common sense says that those are the emotions that lead to muggings and worse. Amazingly, however, crime is down. In 2010 there were almost 6 percent fewer murders, rapes, robberies, and assaults reported in America than in 2009. Property crimes fell by nearly 3 percent.
Before you credit the drop to an increased police presence, let me remind you that American cities haven’t drastically ramped up police presence. Struggling with huge budget deficits, many cities around the country have actually been laying off police by the dozens. So to whom goes the credit for the decrease? What if I told you it was you—African-Americans and other minorities?
To be more specific, no one person can take credit for the crime drop but, according to new research from The Atlantic’s Richard Florida, it’s the diversity that you and everyone else bring to the United States that’s helping aid the fight against crime:
But the key factor, as it turns out, lies in the growing racial, ethnic, and demographic diversity of our cities and metro areas. Our analysis found that the Hispanic share of the population is negatively associated with urban crime. Crime also fell as the percentage of the population that is non-white and the percentage that is gay increased. And of all the variables in our analysis, the one that is most consistently negatively associated with crime is a place's percentage of foreign-born residents. Not only did we find a negative correlation (-.36) between foreign-born share and crime in general, the pattern held across all of the many, various types of crime — from murder and arson to burglary and car theft.
A lot of this new information flies directly in the face of many of America’s ugliest bigoted statements about national criminality; many conservatives who argue against immigration say that immigrants bring rampant crime. Others claim that America’s melting pot is unfeasible, saying that racial separatism is the way to go and that things in America started getting bad when segregation went away. Well, the studies show that that’s just not true. Diversity is here to stay, and it’s only going to grow from here. Everyone should know that that’s nothing to fear, and march into the future with confidence.
(Photo: Emily Barnes/Getty Images)