SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 News) – A new study shows the crime rate by undocumented immigrants is not significant in Utah.
The study by a BYU professor was released to a Utah immigration commission. The board has been assigned to discuss immigration issues facing the state of Utah and it could lead to new legislation.
Sociology professor Charlie Morgan of BYU authored the study and concluded crime rates by illegal immigrants was relatively low.
According to the study Utah’s crime rate in 2010 was between “5-9% and not 50-80% as some have suggested.”
The findings also discovered that the number of Hispanics living in Utah has increased from around 3% of the population in 1978 to 11% of the population in 2008. But during this same time period, the violent crime rate decreased from 272 crimes per 100,000 Utahns to an all-time 30-year low of 224 crimes per 100,000 Utahns.
“We can therefore presume that the rise in Hispanics does not coincide with a rise in violent crimes,” the reports author wrote. “In other words, Utahns are safer now than they have been in the past three decades.”
But those statistics can’t convince the father of Jonathan Bowers
A year ago the former Gold Cross Ambulance paramedic was killed by a drunk driver who also happened to be here illegally.
“He was hit from behind by a car travelling at 75 miles an hour,” John Bowers told the immigration commission. “His car went airborne, flipped and landed on another car in the oncoming lane.”
Gabriel Perez-Guitierez was later arrested after fleeing from the scene of the accident. He was also jailed in 2005 but never deported.
“At that time the criminal after serving his time should have been deported,” Bowers says. “There is no God given right for immigrants to come into our country to cause such wanton destruction.”
Another lawmaker offered a detailed study of date he collected from public records. And his findings were quite different from those of the BYU study.
Rep. Chris Herrod told the commission that studies don’t take into account of those who have been deported.
“They would be in our prison system if they were not deported,” Rep. Herrod says. “So when people say illegal aliens that commit crimes are at no higher rate then rest of population, that's not true.”