A wave of burglaries is spreading across the Washington, D.C., area, and police say illegal immigrants, hit by police crackdowns and the drop in new construction, are likely playing a key role, reports the Washington Examiner. “The immigrant community is at a tipping point,” said Montgomery County, Md., police community liaison Officer Luis Hurtado. “The poor economy is pushing more immigrants to turn to crime.” In the first five months of this year, burglaries climbed 10 to 20 percent in many jurisdictions. The newspaper provided no data on how many burglary arrests involved illegal immigrants.
Many burglaries in which illegal immigrants themselves are the victims have likely gone unreported; illegals often shy away from police, whom they fear may arrest them for violating immigration laws, community activists said. Eric Rasmusen, an economist at Indiana University, estimated that illegal immigrants commit 21 percent of crimes in the U.S. costing $84 billion. But William Chambliss, a criminologist at American University, said: “It's always easy and nice to say there's a connection between illegal immigrants and crime  but there's little to no empirical evidence to show that.”