Refugees Make Cities Safer


To examine this issue, we used refugee resettlement data from the U.S. Department of State’s Worldwide Refugee Processing System to calculate the 10 cities in the US that received the most refugees relative to the size of their population between 2006 and 2015. We then looked at what happened to both their overall crime rates over the same time period using detailed data available from the Federal Bureau of Investigations. This revealed a telling pattern: Rather than crime increasing, nine out of 10 of the communities actually became considerably more safe, both in terms of their levels of violent and property crime. This included places like Southfield, Michigan, a community just outside of Detroit, where violent crime dropped by 77.1 percent. Decatur, Georgia, a community outside Atlanta, experienced a 62.2 percent decline in violent crime.

As the table indicates, there is one city, West Springfield, Massachusetts, that saw an increase in crime between 2006 and 2015. That city and the surrounding area, however, was also impacted by another trend that swept across many parts of America during that time period—a ravaging opioid epidemic.


This study shows that cities where large numbers of refugees were resettled on average see a reduction in violent crimes. In some cases the change is quite dramatic, like in Michigan and Georgia where violent crime dropped by 77 and 62 percent.

So, you really can’t use that excuse any more.



Immigrants and Crime

A recent study out of the University of Buffalo found no link between immigrants and increased crime levels.

The results show that immigration does not increase assaults and, in fact, robberies, burglaries, larceny, and murder are lower in places where immigration levels are higher.

Previous research, based on arrest and offense data, has shown that, overall, foreign-born individuals are less likely to commit crimes than native-born Americans

The study was done by looking at large scale immigration patterns in cities and looking at how they may connect to crime,

due to changes in cities, such as fewer economic opportunities or the claim that immigrants displace domestic workers from jobs.

The study covered metropolitan areas between 1970-2010.

“This is a study across time and across place and the evidence is clear,” said Adelman. “We are not claiming that immigrants are never involved in crime. What we are explaining is that communities experiencing demographic change driven by immigration patterns do not experience significant increases in any of the kinds of crime we examined. And in many cases, crime was either stable or actually declined in communities that incorporated many immigrants.”

Adelman says the relationship between immigration and crime is complex and more research needs to be done, but this research supports other scholarly conclusions that immigrants, on the whole, have a positive effect on American social and economic life.

It’s important to base our public policies on facts and evidence rather than ideologies and baseless claims that demonize particular segments of the U.S. population without any facts to back them up,” said Adelman. [x]

So, you really can’t use that excuse anymore.