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Migration and Crime in Europe

NCJ Number
Social Pathology Volume: 1 Issue: 3 Dated: (Fall 1995) Pages: 228-252
H-E Sun; J Reed
Date Published
25 pages
This examination of the empirical literature on migration and crime in Europe suggests that changes in migrant characteristics and immigration policies explain shifts in migration and crime research and that differences in the situation of migrants themselves explain diverse research findings.
Throughout history, voluntary and forced migration has caused the ethnic composition of Europe to change, and migration is steadily increasing. In response, France, Germany, and the Benelux countries agreed to refine their policies on migrants from Third World countries in 1985. The accord included tightening border controls and introducing tougher entry requirements. Increased migration also led to the European Convention on Security and Cooperation in Europe in 1991. Empirical studies of migration and crime in Europe are reviewed from a regional perspective. The focus is on developed countries (France, Germany, England, Switzerland, and the Netherlands) that have traditionally received and accommodated immigrants, accumulated meaningful records on managing foreigners, and produced important discussions on the topic. The analysis explores whether the criminality of migrants differs significantly from that of native populations and what causal factors explain migrant criminality. Qualitative and quantitative aspects of migrant criminality are addressed, and determinants of migrant criminality are identified in terms of structure versus culture. The authors conclude that migrant criminality results from complex interactions between the motivation and occupational disposition of migrants and the sociopolitical dynamics of host societies. In addition, they indicate that social costs of crime will not be reduced unless there is a broadened partnership involving migrants in the administration of political resources and economic wealth. 98 references and 1 endnote