How many crimes do undocumented immigrants report?

FILE: Hundreds of undocumented immigrants at the Texas State Capitol.

Linda sent me this question regarding the "sanctuary cities" debate: "Do you have any statistics on how many crimes have been reported by undocumented immigrants?"

I learned that there are no comprehensive national statistics for crime reports that are broken down by ethnicity or immigration status.

What we do have are a few recent studies that indicate Latinos, who make up most of the undocumented immigrant population in the U.S., now appear to be less likely to report crimes.

The political analysis website FiveThirtyEight analyzed data from three major American cities: Dallas, Denver and Philadelphia.

In Denver, for example, during the first three months of this year, crime reports from non-Latinos increased by 3.6 percent compared to the same period last year. But crime reporting by Latinos declined by 12 percent.

In Philadelphia, there were more than 4 percent fewer Latino crime reports.

The study found that in Dallas there was no overall decline in crime reports from Latinos, but there did appear to be a significant decline in crime reports from immigrant-heavy neighborhoods.

Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said his department's data shows that Hispanics reporting sexual assaults dropped nearly 43 percent in the first quarter of 2017, while the number of Hispanic-reported robberies and aggravated assaults, each dropped by 12 percent.

This phenomenon was a big reason why he and other law enforcement leaders like El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles opposed Texas' new "sanctuary cities" law. They believe it, and the nationwide immigration crackdown are having a chilling effect on crime reporting and investigations in Latino neighborhoods.

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