Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Immigrants make Canada safer

Arrival of the Fittest
Canada's crime rate is dropping as immigration increases. Is there a connection?

Rachel Giese, The Walrus: In times of social upheaval and economic hardship, immigrants are a convenient scapegoat, accused of bringing with them an element of deviance and criminality... What few have bothered to ask is whether there's any merit to this belief... In Canada, an. overall drop in crime has paralleled the upsurge in non-European immigration since Pierre Trudeau championed multiculturalism in the 1970s... Could it be that immigrants are making us all safer?..

A University of Toronto study initiated more than thirty years ago provides some of the most convincing evidence to support the theory that immigration equals less crime... Immigrant kids were less likely than their peers to engage in delinquent behaviour... The disinclination to commit crime extended across all nationalities... The newer the immigrant, the better behaved he or she was...

Statistics Canada has now released findings from spatial analysis of crime data in Canadian cities that suggest the percentage of recent immigrants in various regions of Toronto and Montreal is inversely proportional to all types of violent crime... 'It acts as a protective factor'...

What ultimately set the first generation kids apart were three important protective factors: strong family bonds, commitment to education, and and aversion to risk. The traits required for a person to leave behind all that's familiar and take a chance on making it in a new country -- ambition, resilience, perseverance, imagination, optimism -- are conducive to the rearing of successful children; those children, in turn naturally feel an obligation to their self-sacrificing parents...

As each generation regresses to the [Canadian] mean, the mean itself has shifted and improved, thanks, it appears, to immigration making the country safer overall. Living in Canada may change immigrants, but not before they change Canada for the better.
Image source here.