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The Power of Place Revisited: Why Immigrant Communities Have Lower Levels of Adolescent Violence

Abstract

Contrary to popular opinion, scholarly research has documented that immigrant communities are some of the safest places around. Studies repeatedly find that neighborhood immigrant concentration is either negatively associated with crime and delinquency or not related to crime and delinquency at all. Less well understood, however, is why this is the case. A critical limitation of existing research is the exclusion of measures that capture the intervening processes by which immigrant concentration influences crime and delinquency. The current study begins to address this gap in the literature. We use data from the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health to examine the relationship between neighborhood immigrant concentration and adolescent violence and to assess the extent to which social capital and personal and vicarious victimization may account for this relationship. Contrary to our expectations, social capital and personal and vicarious victimization do not mediate the relationship between neighborhood immigrant concentration and adolescent violence.

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