immigration crime rate question
On Facebook, Vipul Naik asked the following question about research on crime rates of immigrants vs. natives:
It’s well known among scholars of crime that in the US, immigrants have somewhat lower crime rates than natives (both before and after controlling for ethnicity), whereas, in Western and Northern Europe, immigrants have somewhat higher crime rates than natives.
Various explanations have been posited, such as Western and Northern Europe being worse at assimilating immigrants.
But it seems to me that the simplest explanation is that the US has a higher base rate of native crime, so it’s easier for immigrants to “do better” than natives, whereas the native rate of crime in Western and Northern Europe is so low that the same immigrant crime rate looks worse in comparison. My impression (based on some quick look at the statistics) is that immigrants to Western and Northern Europe don’t have crime rates (substantially) higher than immigrants to the US.
This perspective doesn’t seem clearly articulated in discussions of the “do immigrants commit more crime than natives?” question. Why might that be so? And should we care about the relative crime rates, rather than whether the crime rates are high in absolute terms?