Insecure Communities: Latino Perceptions of Police Involvement in Immigration Enforcement

by Nik Theodore

May 7, 2013
This report presents findings from a survey of Latinos regarding their perceptions of law enforcement authorities in light of the greater involvement of police in immigration enforcement. Lake Research Partners designed and administered a randomized telephone survey of 2,004 Latinos living in the counties of Cook (Chicago), Harris (Houston), Los Angeles, and Maricopa (Phoenix). The survey was designed to assess the impact of police involvement in immigration enforcement on Latinos' perceptions of public safety and their willingness to contact the police when crimes have been committed. The survey was conducted in English and Spanish by professional interviewers during the period November 17 to December 10, 2012. Survey results indicate that the increased involvement of police in immigration enforcement has significantly heightened the fears many Latinos have of the police, contributing to their social isolation and exacerbating their mistrust of law enforcement authorities. These findings reveal one of the unintended consequences of the involvement of state and local police in immigration enforcement -- a reduction in public safety as Latinos' mistrust of the police increases as a result of the involvement of police in immigration enforcement.
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