A Qualitative Investigation into the Cultural Influences on Perceived Crime Rates Among Polish and Nigerian First Generation Immigrants
AbstractOver time we have seen the development of nations, communities and modes of transport and now recognise how these changes affect the global movement of people. There has been a long running debate regarding the potential advantageous or detrimental effects which immigration may have on host communities and crime rates in areas with high immigrant concentrations. The present research was designed to look at these potential effects from the viewpoint of members of two immigrant groups in the UK, specifically Polish and Nigerian first generation immigrants. A review of relevant literature links immigrant concentrations and crime rates. Such research has most often comprised of correlational analyses whose interpretation has been controversial. Therefore, looking at the relationship between immigration and crime in a qualitative study, through the eyes of the participants, offers a useful supplement to the traditional quantitative approach. The opinions of immigrant populations have been largely neglected in previous research, yet it seems fair to explore the idea that their experiences and perceptions of crime will determine their exposure to and knowledge of it and ultimately their residential, professional and leisure decisions whilst living in the UK. The usefulness of complementing quantitative research with qualitative approaches to further explore the crime-immigration connection has sometimes been advocated by researchers in the field. Further, immigrants arrive with a wide range of religious, ethical and cultural backgrounds and varying experiences of police behaviour which will feed into their expectations and behaviour. The time and access limitations of the present study meant that it was only feasible to select two immigrant groups and practical difficulties meant that relatively few respondents were interviewed. Eleven participants were sampled using an opportunist sampling strategy. They engaged in semi-structured interviews focused on their crime-related experiences and their resulting perceptions of crime. The selection of these groups was dependent on an estimation of the most available sample. Their responses were subjected to thematic analysis. The findings tentatively suggest that immigrant movements of these groups in Huddersfield are in some respects inconsistent with theoretical expectations from previous literature. Contrary to previous research, the analysis suggests that although there were growing populations of ethnic minority groups in the town centre as a whole, the populations did not seem to congregate in the same street or even small area, as culture was not mentioned as a reason for their geographic location. Instead, the availability of housing, job opportunities and education were suggested to play a pivotal role in their geographical locations. However, in line with previous research it was found that although residency was dispersed in that members of the same ethnic group did not reside closely to one and other, each ethnic group would still create opportunities to meet as an ethnically homogenous group. In other words, participation in social groups and activities were found to be more homogenous than distribution in areas of residence. These findings are consistent with previous theories and are helpful in exploring the revealed perceptions of crime and the Criminal Justice System in the UK because each individual will have different experiences with other cultures, outside of their ethnic community. On the other hand, findings inconsistent with the theories provide a new and innovative aspect to the crime-immigration debate. It was concluded, within the limits of this very small scale study, that the practices and procedures based on the goal of managing and reducing crime should incorporate responses which consider immigrant needs. Ultimately, the findings tentatively suggest a need of further research into a wider variety of immigrant groups. No claim is here made that the perceptions and experiences of the respondents are typical of those found in other immigrant groups.
Batty, Lauren (2017) A Qualitative Investigation into the Cultural Influences on Perceived Crime Rates Among Polish and Nigerian First Generation Immigrants. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.