Myth: Refugees increase petty crimes.
Fact: Studies suggest refugees are less likely to engage in criminal behavior than native-born members of the host society.
Due to rising xenophobia, it has become a common belief that immigrants and refugees bring increased crime into their host countries, despite no evidence supporting these claims. In reality, studies consistently show that refugees are statistically less likely to engage in criminal behavior than native-born members of their host society. Regardless, in January of 2017, President Trump signed an executive order designating immigrants as a threat to national security due to all the supposed crimes they commit.
In the United States, for example, the Department of State’s Worldwide Refugee Processing System conducted a study to calculate the correlation between refugees and crime rates between 2006 and 2015. From the 10 cities in the United States that received the most refugees relative to size of the population, the study concluded that not only was there not an increase in crime, but nine out of the ten communities became considerably more safe in terms of violent and property crimes. Crime rates in Southfield Michigan, an area right outside of Detroit, dropped by 77.1%; in Decatur Georgia, an area right outside of Atlanta, dropped by 62.2%.
Every year refugees are less likely to be incarcerated than natives, with the gap widening each decade. Refugees have incarceration rates that are one-fifth to those who are natural born citizens. Not only do they commit less crime, it has become clear that refugees generally have a positive effect on communities. For example, they aid community redevelopment and rebuild local civil society in formenly decaying urban cores. In addition, immigrants and refugees contribute to economic prosperity.