The study seeks to build on research on immigration-homicide relationship by using race and ethnicity disaggregated population data on homicide offending from California (Feldmeyer, 2009).
Conclusions from previous research include the following results. First, the studies focus mostly on homicide victimization due to unavailability of data. Second, the research on this topic is scarce and involves data from one source. Third, the studies show that immigrant concentrations had negative effects on homicide victimization rates in totality, and lastly, the studies were ambiguous on homicide victimization on all the ethnic and racial groups.
The main objective of this study was to extend research on previous studies to contribute empirically on the literature of immigration-homicide in four main ways. First, it could be done by focusing on homicide offending rather than on victimization. Secondly, it is possible to arbitrate on competing positions which include the effects of immigration on homicide whether it has race or ethnic-specific and neutral effects, and whether it is violence-reducing or violence-generating (Feldmeyer, 2009).
Thirdly, it would be better to extend research on extant immigration-homicide by using census places as a new and untapped unit of ecological analysis. Lastly, to develop the research is possible by using data provided in the year 1999-2001 to reflect the association between homicide rates and contemporary immigration rates.
The null hypothesis for the study was that there were no significant effects of immigration on Black and Latino homicide victimization while the alternative hypothesis was that there were significant effects on Black and Latino homicide victimization.
The data used were from two main sources, namely, from California’s crime reporting program on the total race disaggregated homicide arrests and from the 2000 United States census data.
The study employed dependent and independent variables. Dependent variables were census place–level Latino, White, Black, and total counts of arrest for homicide. Only those census places that had a total population of 10,000 or above and at least 1,000 residents of the racial/ethnic group in the year 2000 were included.
Law enforcement officers were also included in per capita as a control for the differences in the number of police in census places to avoid bias comparisons. A three-year averaged homicide arrest figures for the period 1999-2001 were used to ensure good arrest count of homicide and add stability. The primary independent variable of interest was immigrant concentration.
The key control variables were selected on theoretical grounds in order to take into account the structural characteristics of areas in which immigrants had settled (Feldmeyer, 2009). Negative binomial models were employed to estimate the effects of immigration on all and race and ethnicity-disaggregated homicides.
The study found out that homicide rates varied across all the races and ethnic groups with Whites having the lowest average, followed by Latino and Blacks. There were also considerable differences in homicide offending patterns. Standard deviation indicated that there were census areas with few or no homicides while other regions had very high homicide rates (Feldmeyer, 2009).
The findings immigration has a positive effect on overall levels of homicide offending. However, the effect is nonsignificant. This indicates that immigration does not increase total homicide offending in all the census places. There are some differences in the effects of immigration on homicide when the overall rates are disaggregated by race or ethnicity.
The study is indeed relevant. It indicates that immigration does not actually inflate total homicide offending across census places. The findings are consistent with overall results from prior studies on immigration-homicide link. The study adds important dimensions to these studies.
Feldmeyer, B.K. & Steffensmeier, D.F. (2009). Immigration effects on homicide offending for total and race/ethnicity-disaggregated populations White, Black, and Latino. Homicide Studies, 13(3), 211-226.