Criminals Target Hispanic Immigrants

When Reporting Crime Doesn’t Pay
by Staff, Utne Reader
November-December 2009
Add to My MSN

age by Blair Kelly /

Content Tools

Thieves and violent criminals frequently target Hispanic immigrants in U.S. cities, zeroing in on a community that, due to an often justified distrust of law enforcement, is unlikely to report being victimized. Especially vulnerable are people who are undocumented.

“Day laborers operate in a shadow economy, where they are often paid under the table, in cash,” writes Urbanite (June 2009). Those who are here illegally “are reluctant to use U.S. banks or report crime to the police for fear of deportation.” And in some neighborhoods, come Friday—payday—“predators know their pockets are full.”

Even though some undocumented immigrants are eligible for temporary visas while they assist with police investigations, the government has been slow to grant these “U visas” and has done little to educate people about the program.

Select cities are working on ways to restore Hispanics’ trust in police and encourage them to report crimes. An advocacy group in Birmingham, Alabama, established a 24-hour Spanish-language telephone line for crime victims. In Baltimore, a bilingual advocate helps immigrants navigate the legal system. In Fairfax County, Virginia, the police chief holds “citizen police academies” that “teach immigrants about what police do, how to report crimes, and how to file complaints against officers if necessary.”

Post a comment below.


Pay Now Save $5!

Print and DigitalWant to gain a fresh perspective? Read stories that matter? Feel optimistic about the future? It's all here! Utne Reader offers provocative writing from diverse perspectives, insightful analysis of art and media, down-to-earth news and in-depth coverage of eye-opening issues that affect your life.

Save Even More Money By Paying NOW!

Pay now with a credit card and take advantage of our earth-friendly automatic renewal savings plan. You save an additional $5 and get 4 issues of Utne Reader for only $31.00 (USA only).

Or Bill Me Later and pay just $36 for 4 issues of Utne Reader!

(* indicates a required item)
Canadian subs: 1 year, (includes postage & GST). Foreign subs: 1 year, . U.S. funds.
Canadian Subscribers - Click Here
Non US and Canadian Subscribers - Click Here