Feature

Why crimes by immigrants are on the rise

The week's news at a glance.

Italy

Luca RicolfiLa Stampa

Italians are fed up with immigrants, said Luca Ricolfi in Turin’s La Stampa. Crime is on the increase, and most of the criminals are foreigners. Bank robbers and muggers of foreign origin outnumber Italian criminals by a rate of 5–to–1. It’s gotten so bad that “even the leftists,” who usually support refugees and asylum seekers, are calling for immigration controls. But that’s misguided. If you look closely at the data, you’ll see that rises and dips in crime in Italy don’t follow immigration patterns; they follow the general economic trend—with one notable exception. The current spike in violent crime began last August, “immediately after” the new government of Romano Prodi—“in a sweeping amnesty” meant to right the wrongs of the Berlusconi years—freed some 24,000 burglars. So while it’s still true that criminals are disproportionately immigrants, it doesn’t follow that halting immigration will cause crime to plummet. The foreign criminals are already here, eagerly “becoming recidivists.” The lesson isn’t to discriminate against foreigners. It’s to “keep prisoners in jail where they belong.”

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