Although a great deal of research has been conducted on fear of crime among the general public, much less is known about such fear among immigrants. Intensified fear may have detrimental consequences on immigrants’ lifestyles, acculturation process, and responses to law enforcement. Based on survey data collected from 148 Chinese immigrants in Metro-Detroit, this study assesses the effects of a variety of general and immigrant-specific explanatory factors on Chinese immigrants’ fear of crime. Results show that Chinese immigrants who had greater perceived risks of victimization, stronger perceptions of crime problems in home city, and lower English proficiency tended to have higher levels of fear of crime. Implications for policy and future research are discussed.
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In 1982, Vincent Chin, a 27-year-old Chinese American in Detroit, was beaten to death by two white autoworkers. The crime was racially motivated due to anti-Japanese sentiments arising from layoffs in the auto industry with the rise of Japanese auto industry. Wayne County Circuit Court Judge Charles Kaufman sentenced the two offenders for manslaughter, and the offenders were given $3,000 fine and a 3-year probation with no prison time. This decision angered Asian Americans in Detroit and around the country. Asian Americans were united for the first time across ethnic and socioeconomic lines to form a pan-Asian identity and civil rights movement.
In July 1998, Chengguang Wang, a 42-year-old Chinese immigrant who just completed his postdoctoral fellowship in the University of Michigan and started working at Wayne State University in Detroit, was robbed and killed in a local neighborhood off highway I-75. This case has gained wide attention among the Chinese immigrant communities partially because Wang was the brother of a famous Chinese writer named Xiaobo Wang.
Such optimism may bring some unintended negative consequences though, such as reducing immigrants’ risk-avoiding behaviors and precaution taking. Future research needs to investigate these issues.
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Wu, Y., Wen, J. Fear of crime among Chinese immigrants in Metro-Detroit. Crime Law Soc Change 61, 495–515 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10611-014-9513-y
- Host Country
- Criminal Justice System
- Language Proficiency
- English Proficiency
- Collective Efficacy