Is there a Link Between Refugees and U.S. Crime Rates?

New American Economy
Date of Publication: 
February, 2017
Source Organization: 
New American Economy

When a large number of refugees arrive in a given city, does crime rise in subsequent years? It’s a question obviously relevant to many current debates, both in the United States and in Europe. And one many policymakers are focused on now.

To examine this issue, we used refugee resettlement data from the U.S. Department of State’s Worldwide Refugee Processing System to calculate the 10 cities in the US that received the most refugees relative to the size of their population between 2006 and 2015. We then looked at what happened to both their overall crime rates over the same time period using detailed data available from the Federal Bureau of Investigations. This revealed a telling pattern: Rather than crime increasing, nine out of 10 of the communities actually became considerably more safe, both in terms of their levels of violent and property crime.

View online


New American Economy. (2017). Is there a Link Between Refugees and U.S. Crime Rates? Retrieved from