The Role of Police Officer Race/Ethnicity on Crime Rates in Immigrant Communities

Joselyne L. Chenane, Emily M. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Few studies have examined the role of city police officer racial/ethnic representation on violent crime in immigrant neighborhoods. Yet police officer race/ethnicity might play a significant role in bolstering or weakening the relationship between immigration and violent crime rates. Researchers have posited that increasing the representation of minority officer would be an important avenue for making police departments more accountable to the communities they serve. The current study contributes to existing research by using national (i.e., 89 cities and 8,980 neighborhoods) data on violent crime from large U.S. cities. We examine the relationship between immigration, violent crime rates, and minority police officer representation using multilevel modeling techniques. Results indicate that neighborhood immigrant concentration is associated with lower robbery and homicide rates. Moreover, the negative relationship between immigrant concentration and violent crime rates is strengthened by city African American and Hispanic officer representation. Policy implications for law enforcement are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3-27
Number of pages25
JournalRace and Justice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2021


  • immigrant concentration
  • immigration
  • neighborhoods
  • police representation
  • violent crimes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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