Sanctuary Policies and City-Level Incidents of Violence, 1990 to 2010

Justice Quarterly, 2017

Posted: 21 Dec 2017 Last revised: 22 Dec 2017

See all articles by Ricardo Martinez-Schuldt

Ricardo Martinez-Schuldt

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology

Daniel Martinez

University of Arizona - Department of Sociology

Date Written: December 18, 2017

Abstract

Despite media coverage of isolated incidents of violent crime perpetuated by undocumented immigrants in cities with sanctuary policies, there is scant systematic research on the relationships between the adoption of sanctuary policies, unauthorized immigration, and crime. We compile city-level data from official sources and use fixed-effects negative binomial regression to examine whether the adoption of city-level sanctuary policies and the concentration of unauthorized Mexican immigrants are associated with homicide and robbery incidents in 107 U.S. cities, across three decades. We find evidence that the adoption of sanctuary policies is associated with a reduction in robberies but not homicide. In contrast, an increase in the relative size of a city’s unauthorized Mexican immigrant population corresponds with a reduction in homicide; however, only in sanctuary cities. Lastly, shifts in violence during our study period are consistently related to social structural characteristics of cities, which are findings consistent with social disorganization theory.

Suggested Citation

Martinez-Schuldt, Ricardo and Martinez, Daniel, Sanctuary Policies and City-Level Incidents of Violence, 1990 to 2010 (December 18, 2017). Justice Quarterly, 2017, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3089846

Ricardo Martinez-Schuldt

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill, College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Sociology ( email )

Chapel Hill, NC
United States

Daniel Martinez (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - Department of Sociology ( email )

United States

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