Italian Journal of Criminology

The official journal of the Italian Society of Criminology

by Uberto Gatti, Hans M.A. Schadee, Giovanni Fossa

Immigrants from outside the European Union in Italy have higher reported crime rates, especially illegal immigrants, than the Italian population. For some crimes, such as pushing drugs or exploitation of prostitution, hich provide requested services and are crimes without victims, the higher rates might be explained by noting that illegal markets are typically marginal and find their workers among marginal groups in society. There are then two possible consequences of the larger involvement of immigrants in these illegal markets: the immigrants substitute for native labor an the amount of crime remains the same, or they add their own activity to the existing illegal activity and the total amount of crime increases. With aggregate data for the 95 Italian provinces for the nineties (1991-2000) the paper considers whether, controlling for previous years crime rates the (growing) presence of immigrants contributes to the total amount of crime. The five crimes considered are exploitation of prostitution and drug offenses, as the main crimes involving illegal services, car theft as a crime in which the number of unreported crimes is minimal, murder and robbery. Crime rates and presence of strangers are modeled as separate endogeneous processes, and only positive links between these two processes provide evidence that immigrants contribute to crime rates beyond had would be predicted by the substitution hypothesis. Only in the case of exploitation of prostitution there was a relationship between the percentage of immigrant and the rate of crime; for the other crimes the substitution hypothesis has been confirmed.


Professore di Criminologia, Sezione di Criminologia e Psichiatria Forense, DIMEL, Università degli Studi di Genova, via De Toni, 12, Genova
Uberto Gatti
Professore di Statistica Sociale, Dipartimento di Psicologia, Università degli Studi Milano-Bicocca, via Bicocca degli Arcimboldi, 8, Milano
Hans M.A. Schadee
Sociologo, Sezione di Criminologia e Psichiatria Forense, DIMEL, Università degli Studi di Genova, via De Toni 12, Genova
Giovanni Fossa
Contacts: Uberto Gatti, Sezione di Criminologia e Psichiatria Forense, DIMEL, Università degli Studi di Genova, via De Toni, 12, Genova, e-mail: ugatti(at)unige.it

From: Rassegna Italiana di Criminologia n. 2/2009



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