Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Illegal Immigration and Crime in Hazleton, Pennsylvania

In an open letter explaining his motivation for proposing the Hazleton Illegal Immigration Relief Act, Mayor Ray Barletta cited a purported rise in crime in Hazleton which he attributed to a large and recent influx of illegal aliens. Perhaps Barletta really believes that this claim are true, but the more I research this issue, the less evidence I am finding to support Barletta's position. To wit, according to reporter Dan Geringer of the Philadelphia Daily News:
"Barletta did not offer any statistical evidence to support those claims. . . . ΒΆ He told the Daily News that he did not know how many 'illegal aliens' lived or worked or went to school or committed crimes in Hazleton. . . . [H]e could not say how many Hazleton crimes had been committed by 'illegal immigrants' and how many by legal residents."
In other words, Barletta has no evidence whatsoever to support his claim that crime has risen in Hazleton because of illegal aliens, and the only statistics that I could find painted a very different picture. To wit, according to the Los Angeles Times, statistics compiled by the Pennsylvania State Police Uniform Crime Reporting System indicated that Hazleton had a decline in total arrests from 1,458 in 2000 to 1,263 in 2005, notwithstanding a 30 percent increase in the overall population. Moreover, whereas the number of thefts and drug-related crimes has risen from a low point of 80 in 2001 to 127 in 2005, the total number of reported rapes, robberies, homicides and assaults has decreased since 2000. Digging a little deeper, I found a rather interesting post in the blogosphere from a one-time residenct of Hazleton:
"I started college at Penn State Hazleton, so all of the national press . . . about the mayor of Hazleton's anti-illegal immigrant legislation has been interesting. What I find most interesting [is] the 'Smalltown, USA' descriptions of the city. As I recall Hazleton, it had a pretty big underground drug trade and a lots[sic] of mafia, in addition to a bar on every corner. There were some good efforts to keep the place vibrant, but ultimately, it was a pretty depressing place full of lots of ignorant people."

13 Comments:

Blogger TrekMedic251 said...

Umm,.....its kinda hard to tell whether a criminal is an illegal or not to begin with. You don't just ask him/her "are you in the US illegally?"

Your argument, therefore, is rather specious at best, if you're going to pin that on Mayor Barletta.

7:32 PM, July 19, 2006  
Blogger Internet Esquire said...

My argument is anything but specious, and your comment is anything but coherent. To wit, my points were and are that (1) crime in Hazleton has decreased rather than increased since the local Latino population increased and (2) there is no correlation whatsoever between illegal immigration and crime in Hazleton. Your comment has nothing to do with either one of these points.

9:23 PM, July 19, 2006  
Blogger Harold C. Hutchison said...

It is interesting to note that the stats don't bear any resemblance to the mayor's claims...

9:18 AM, July 20, 2006  
Blogger Ken Prescott said...

It is interesting to note that the stats don't bear any resemblance to the mayor's claims...

Why spoil perfectly good xenophobic demagougery with facts?

12:38 PM, July 20, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just trying to understand the issues better.

If an illegal alien is arrested what happens? Do they get turned over to the feds?

6:26 PM, July 23, 2006  
Blogger Internet Esquire said...

While it depends upon the underlying charges and who takes an illegal alien into custody, an illegal alien who is arrested in the United States is treated much the same as a legal alien, a legal resident, or a citizen. Other things being equal, if an arrest is related to someone's status as an illegal alien, then the standard procedure is to book and release, as the charge is not a criminal charge, at least not at the present time. Consequently, people I know who work for Immigrations and Customs Enforcement tell me that they often arrest the same people over and over again. It's comparable to getting a traffic citation, although it's highly unlikely that you will ever get handcuffed and taken into custody for a traffic citation.

12:40 AM, July 24, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been a resident of Hazleton Pennsylvania all of my life. I am 27 years old and never have I seen this town in such sad shape. If you want to compare crime rates as facts than go ahead. When I was a kid hearing of a shooting was unheard of. I was able to roam the streets without any worry. Now I wouldnt even attempt to walk around at night by myself. My son is four years old and will not have the freedom to roam around when he gets older because it is unsafe. For all of you who do not live in this small town or never have visited Hazleton have no room to talk. If it was your city that was declining I am sure you would want something done. This act is in no way against the Spanish population, it is to get the ppl who are causing the trouble out and let us have our town back!!!
Hazleton was run by the mafia at one point and was safer at that time than it is now..go figure.

9:39 PM, August 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is another Anonymous not the same as up above to clarify.

I have to side with you, it does indeed suck to have ur town run down by thugs and gangsters. It might not all be latinos though u have to consider that.

I also want to say this. If a mexican is deported, what happens? they are sent back. But u know what they do then? they just come running back in. The reason this happens is that the government and officals of mexico are CORRUPT and distrustfull. another reason is becuase a famous writer (the name slips my mind at the moment) wrote a speech nearly 3 or 4 years ago. and in that speech he gave he basicly declared war by migratory tatics on the areas that mexico lost in the war with the US. now, later on in life, the mexican officals are encurageing this and do nothing. And the reason we dont do anything? Bush is afraid to make mexico mad at us becuase they are RIGHT NEXT TO US and could cause major dammage to us. If u ask me, something needs to be done to combat this.

And yes, i did research this throughly

3:44 PM, March 07, 2007  
Anonymous Hispanic is NOT a race said...

Reconquista is the term. If they want to take us back in time, let us remember that the Hispanic culture south of US today grew from those sent by the Spanish Empire... the Conquistadors ("Conquerors", mercenaries). Look at what is considered customary down there. It is a culture without Rule of Law... and here it comes. *btw- history lesson: Hispanic is a term that historically denoted relation to the ancient Hispania and its peoples. Hispania was the name given by the Romans to the whole of the Iberian Peninsula (modern Portugal, Spain, Andorra, and Gibraltar).

4:29 PM, July 26, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crime has gotten worse in Hazleton since the Latino population .. much worse! We have NEVER had gangs, murders, rapes, etc. as we have now. It is time to clean up Hazleton and make our streets safe again. Recently a 5 year old little girl was beaten with a baseball bat by her father. Good grief! Stop this already.

3:32 PM, September 16, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Illegal immigrants should be deported when they are arrested. The illegal, who shot Derek Kichline in the face in front of his home in Hazleton, was actually arrested before but let go and not deported. The only people who were deported were the witnesses of this crime. How convenient. Although the illegal is now facing charges from a stabbing he did he will never be tried for the brutal murder. It is time we stop allowing these law-breaking illegals from victimizing the honest hard-working citizens of this great country. BUILD THE FENCE, HIRE MORE BORDER AGENTS, DEPORT ALL ILLEGALS, AND WHATEVER YOU DO - DON'T VOTE DEMOCRAT.

10:34 AM, January 24, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I lived in Hazleton my whole life also, and yes there is a visible decline in the cities quality. But I must make two points here. First off let me say Mayor Lou is getting my vote, but not because of the immigration bullshit. The city is now like a ghost town again since almost all the spanish were chased out and a lot of them closed down there businesses. Do I think there should be illegals, no. But I also must stress that Hazleton has a major influx of Yugoslovian and Russian immigrants coming in also, but we all seem to be blind to that.

Second point, Hazleton at one point might have been run by the mafia, but its still crime, that is being kind of biased if you are going to say ok we dont like spanish people committing crime but its ok for italians. Its all the same, the mafia was just a little more secretive about it. Crime is crime and there reallly is no difference between a crip and one of Tony Sopranos capos just remember that.

We basically just have to deal with it, Hazleton isn't the only place dealing with crime. I dont think its not safe to walk down the street, people are acting like Hazleton has turned into 1980's Harlem, which in know way shape or form is the truth. But if you never venture out of the box you will never know. I love my city and its people, and its really not that bad, not as good as it once was but there are alot of projects underway wich i think will bring Hazleton back on the map (if everyone stops protesting them.)

4:53 AM, October 31, 2008  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have lived in Hazleton since 2001, and lived in Texas for a number of years previously, so I have some first hand experience with illegals. In Texas I worked side by side with a pair of workers from Mexico who worked their tails off, sent most of their earnings to family back in Mexico and didn't complain a bit.
My obeservations about the situation here in Hazleton is that the illegals keep to themselves, they work and keep a low profile. The trouble makers are coming from NYC, New Jersey, and Philly bringing drugs in because there is a market for them, and the city's location at the crossroads of I-81 and I-80 make it very convenient to get in and out of town quickly. The trouble comes from Puerto Rican and Dominican gangs--not the Mexicans. To many, however, all Latinos look the same and must be illegals.

1:49 PM, October 23, 2009  

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