Crime importation

Crime importation is the sociocultural concept of the analysis of criminal tendencies and causes related with transborder crime and immigration in a given country to create an effective crime control system and adaptable legal measures.

Questions about the possible relationships between ethnicity, immigration and crime have been raised since the days of the early pioneers of criminology. In searching for the causes behind high crime rates in certain areas, several early theorists proposed that the answer lay in the conflict between different cultural groups. [Thorsten Sellin, 1938, "Culture Conflict and Crime"; Edwin Sutherland, 1929, "Crime and the Conflict Process"] The issue of crime importation was further explored by Conklin (1986), [John Conklin (Tufts University), 1986] who asserted that US immigrants' involvement in criminal behavior is a function of their level of social integration and adaptation as well as their historical criminal background in the country of origin. Since central city areas were inhabited largely by immigrants, theorists suggested that immigrants' values and norms might differ from those of the cities' general populations. It soon became clear that it was not the areas themselves that were the source of the high crime rates; instead, causes were identified within the immigrants' patterns of socialization to American culture.

Immigration to a new country is mainly considered a process of sociocultural adaptation, which is complex in itself. In addition, its direction is influenced by several factors. On the one hand, adaptation is influenced by attitudes among the host population towards immigrants, as well as the policies pursued by the government of the receiving country with respect to immigrant integration. On the other hand, the process of adaptation is also affected by the type of immigration involved - whether it is economic migration or refugee flight - and by the immigrants' personal characteristics, including age, skills and educational level.

Another intervening variable is the state of the economy in the host country, which determines the ease with which immigrants and citizens can satisfy their economic goals. Mass immigration is sometimes characterized by the arrival of unprofessional and sometimes unskilled immigrants in a host society with high unemployment. These variables are sources of social disruptions that may cause criminality peaks.

References


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