Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 69.djvu/167

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EFFECTS OF IMMIGRATION ON HOMICIDE

number being now held for murder. That there is danger in the vast increase of immigration from southern Italy is evidenced by the fact that of each one hundred thousand of alien Italians in this country 50.2 are held for murder. There is no question here of race prejudice, as may be seen by the following diagram (Fig. 3).

Unfortunately, the tendency of immigrants is to concentrate in large cities. The proportion of foreigners is about four times greater in the 161 cities of over 25,000 inhabitants than in the remainder of the country; hence the relation of increasing immigration to the increase of crimes of violence can be best studied through the police records of large cities. PSM V69 D167 Statistics of immigrants held in us penal institutions 1906.pngFig. 3. Table showing Number of Foreigners held for Murder in American Penal Institutions, with their Ratio per 100,000 of Population. Naturally, such a task is fraught with many difficulties, owing to the want of adequate data. By confining the scope of the present inquiry to the effect of immigration on crimes involving the loss of human life, and by comparing prison statistics with the reports of chiefs of police, sheriffs and health officers, many obstacles, insuperable in any study of wider scope, are avoided.

As the records of our penal institutions show which elements of our foreign population are most given to homicide, those cities should have the higher ratios of arrests for homicide which contain the greater proportions of aliens from the countries shown in the figure to produce the greater proportions of murderers. But there are many disturbing factors to be reckoned with, chief of which is the presence in many of our cities of large numbers of a socially inferior race of native-born citizens, the negroes. The United States Census Report on Crime, for 1880, shows that the tendency among negroes towards crimes against the person was 100 per cent, greater than among the native whites. The report for 1890 shows that the negroes had been convicted of three times more homicides in proportion to their number than had the foreign whites; whilst as compared with the native white population they appear to have been about six times more murderous. Nearly two thirds of the prisoners charged with murder were in the south.