Italy: Young immigrants commit nearly 1 out of every 2 crimes in their age group

Migrants in Italy are greatly overrepresented in crime statistics. (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)
By M B
3 Min Read

Young foreigners commit nearly half of the serious crimes in Italy in the 14-24 age group, according to data from the Italian government’s National Institute for Statistics (ISTAT).

The numbers are truly shocking since for this age group, foreigners make up 9.6 percent of the population. Nevertheless, young immigrants commit 50.2 percent of thefts, 48.1 percent of robberies, 47.7 percent of sexual violence, and 40.4 percent of assaults.

In the 18-24 age group, foreigners make up 11.2 percent of the country’s population, yet commit a whopping 89.7 percent of crimes involving exploitation of prostitution, 55.8 percent of cases involving sexual violence, 52.8 percent of robberies, 52.4 percent of thefts, and 43.6 percent of malicious injury cases, writes Giuseppe Valditara for Italy’s Libero newspaper. The data does not include crimes committed by second-generation Italians. In other words, Italians born to immigrant parents are not listed as “foreigners” and are instead seen as Italian citizens.

The data helps dispel the notion that immigrants have higher crime rates simply because they are mostly made up of young males. The data here simply compares crime rates between foreigners and natives who are from the same age groups, and it shows that foreigners account for a massively disproportionate share of the overall crime rate.

ISTAT also shows that the share of crime committed by foreigners has steadily increased in the last few decades. In 1990, foreigners represented 2.5 percent of those accused of crimes while in 2009, foreigners represented 24 percent of those accused of a crime. This troubling statistic has only grown worse over the years.

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The data is especially troubling in light of recent cases, such as when 2,000 migrant teens descended on lakeside towns near Lake Garda last month and proceeded to riot, assault police, and rob people of their belongings. More ominously, six teenage girls were sexually assaulted on a train on their way home from the area by approximately 30 migrant youths, with the incident sparking outrage in Italy and an investigation in parliament.

However, the data does show some silver linings. For example, the immigrant group between 45 and 54 make up 11.8 percent of the population, but they commit only 16.7 percent of crimes. Researchers believe that their age and greater integration into Italian society accounts for the lower crime rate.

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