Illegal Immigrants Total 3 Percent of Serious-Crime Arrests in Prince William County

David Sherfinski, Washington Examiner, August 5, 2009

About 3 percent of individuals arrested for violent crimes in Prince William County last year were illegal immigrants, according to data released Tuesday.

Of nearly 2,000 people arrested for the most violent crimes–which include murder, rape and aggravated assault–from March to December 2008, 3.4 percent were in the country illegally, according to an interim report on the county police department’s policy.

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The county’s highly publicized crackdown on illegal immigrants was implemented smoothly by the county’s police department but has had a mixed effect on crime and the community’s perception of the department, according to the report presented to the county Board of Supervisors.

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{snip} Thomas Guterbock, director of the Center for Survey Research, estimated that several thousand illegal immigrants left when the policy was enacted, but added that the reasons for the exodus were not clear.

“It is unclear if the modest outflow was attributable to the immigration enforcement policy (that is, people getting arrested and turned over to [Immigration and Customs Enforcement]), fear of the policy or the highly publicized anti-immigration sentiment voiced in the controversy, the economic downturn or all four,” the report said.

Prince William Police Chief Charlie Deane said his department was committed to carrying out the policy in a fair and lawful manner, but added he was concerned with findings from the study that showed a drop in police satisfaction and trust from the county’s African-American and Hispanic communities.

Ninety-five percent of Asians and 93 percent of whites were satisfied with overall police performance, compared with 84 percent for African-Americans and 73 percent for Hispanics, the report said, based on a 2008 survey. Eight-three percent of whites were satisfied that the police department treats everyone fairly by ethnic and racial group, compared with 80 percent of Asians, 62 percent of African-Americans and 49 percent of Hispanics.

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