The Impact of Characteristics of Immigrant Offenders on Attitudes Towards Immigrant Crime

Mateja Vuk, Dalibor Doležal, Ena Jovanović


Minority threat theory and existing research show that public
attitudes towards certain types of offenders (e.g. ethnic and
racial minorities) are often more punitive. Research also
reveals that a significant proportion of the public associates
the increase of immigration with higher crime rates. Negative
attitudes, as well as an overall anti-immigration sentiment,
have been increasing internationally. Therefore, we
hypothesise that the public will have more negative and
punitive attitudes towards immigrant offenders than towards
citizens. Using a sample of students from the University of
Zagreb, this research tested the above-mentioned hypothesis
and explored whether factors like immigration status, ethnic
identity, type of offense, and the age of the hypothetical
offender impact student attitude on immigrant crime. To test
this proposition, we used online surveys with factorial
vignettes. The results show that participants ask for harsher
sentences for undocumented immigrants, but immigrant
status and the national origin of the immigrant are not
associated with the perception of recidivism, dangerousness,
or criminal typicality of offender.


immigrants; student attitudes; punitiveness

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Copyright (c) 2021 Dalibor Dolezal, Mateja Vuk, Ena Jovanović

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Print ISSN 1330-0288 | Online ISSN 1848-6096