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September 30, 1909, and data relating to alien prisoners in the penal institutions throughout the United States, in 1908, were utilized, as well as the police records made in Chicago in the years 1905-1908.
Many of these figures, of course, are not comparable one with another, but by a careful study certain general conclusions may be reached.
CLASSES OF CRIME
The tables on pages 57 and 58, of the distribution of classes of crime, show that in all of the courts investigated, the proportion of natives committing gainful offenses is decidedly larger than that of foreigners, altho in offenses of personal violence and of those against public policy the foreigner predominates. It should be borne in mind, however, that in the case of offenses against public policy many are merely the violation of a city ordinance, such as peddling without a city license, and it may be that in certain of these cases the newly arrived immigrant was not aware that he was committing an offense. Even, however, if he did know that he was violating an ordinance, it could hardly be assumed that it was such a misdemeanor as would imply a serious criminal tendency.
When on the other hand we take up the offense of personal violence, we find that in the City Magistrate's Court of New York and in the County and Supreme Courts of the same State, the percentage of offenses of personal violence is very much higher among the Italians than among any other race or nationality. This seems a matter of special significance. For example, of the convictions of Italians in the County and Supreme Courts of New York State, 39.3 per cent. were for offenses of personal violence; of the convic
tions of persons born in Austria-Hungary, only 18.6 per cent. were for offenses of that class; for those born in Ireland, only 16.5 per cent.; and for nativeborn citizens, 11.7 per cent. On the other hand, when in the same courts we find that in the relative frequency of gainful offenses, the United States leads with 77.8 per cent., and the Italians have the fewest offenses with 37.6 per cent., we see the relative inclinations of the different races brought out in a most striking way.
Among these gainful offenses, however, there seems to be a wide difference in kinds of crime. Of the convictions of persons born in the United States, 29.9 per cent. were for burglary. In extortion, the Italians lead with 3.05 per cent.; in forgery and fraud, the Canadian with 4.03 per cent.; in larceny and receiving stolen property, the Russian leads with 48.5, while in robbery, the Poles are preeminent with 4.2 per cent.
If a similar analysis is made of the relative frequency of offenses of personal violence, the Italians seem to show a peculiarly bad eminence, leading in homicide with 6.3 per cent. of all the convictions, while the nationality next to them is the Irish with only 2.2 per cent. In abduction, the Italians also lead with 2.03 per cent., England being second at only 0.62 per cent. In assault the Italians are first with 28.9 per cent., Austria-Hungary second at 15 per cent. In all of the offenses of personal violence the Italians lead, except in the case of rape, where the Germans and Italians are equal at 2.1 per cent., citizens of the United States following at 1.6 per cent. In the same court, the Italians lead in crimes against the public health and safety with 13.8 per cent., the Poles ranking second with 5.2 per cent. In the case of violation of excise
laws and similar offenses, the Canadian leads with 10.5 per cent., the English following with only 6.2 per cent.
It is perhaps sufficient to say here that on the whole, in spite of the inclination apparently shown by certain nationalities to commit certain classes of crime, it is impossible to show whether or not the totality of crime has been increased by immigration.
NEW MEASURES NEEDED
There can be no doubt regarding the inadequacy of our laws for the exclusion of criminals. Many criminals doubtless come as seamen, or as employees in some capacity on ships, and then secure entrance to the country by desertion, while, as already explained, many others escape because the inspecting officials. can not detect them.
Unless an immigrant has a criminal record abroad, there seems no way of ridding the country of his presence if he becomes a criminal here. It seems advisable that our laws be so amended that an alien who becomes a criminal within a relatively short time, after his arrival, say from three to five years, should be deported after he has paid the penalty here. Presumably such a person has brought with him a tendency to commit crime.
Moreover, it would seem advisable for the United States to make arrangements with certain foreign countries that keep police records of all their citizens, so that all persons arriving from those countries might be required to produce a penal certificate showing a clear record. Those unable to present such a record should be excluded. Such an arrangement could not well be made with all countries, since, first, many