Ethnicity and English-Language Proficiency and Experiences with Crime and Police: A Multi-Level Analysis of Restricted Data from the National Crime Victimization Survey

Awarded Scholars:
Eric Baumer, Pennsylvania State University
John Iceland, Pennsylvania State University
Project Date:
Mar 2016
Award Amount:
$73,874
Project Programs:
Race, Ethnicity, and Immigration

Recent research has expanded our knowledge about the social, economic and political realities faced by the foreign-born and their children, and about the effects that immigrants have on the communities in which they settle. Some studies find that immigrants, and communities with a large immigrant presence, are associated with lower police-recorded crime rates. Is this because many immigrants, especially recent arrivals, live in communities with other foreign-born, higher levels of poverty and lower educational attainment levels—factors associated with a lesser likelihood that crime victims seek police assistance? Or is it because immigrants have a lower risk of victimization, due to selective migration processes or because of heightened exposure to community social controls?

Social demographers Eric Baumer and John Iceland propose to use restricted-use National Crime and Victimization Survey (NCVS) data on incidents of crime and crime reporting, together with demographic data from the American Community Survey (ACS), and police department data from the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) to explore whether and how English-language proficiency correlates with crime reporting and official response to reported crimes.

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