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White Residents of Urban Sanctuary Counties are Safer from Deadly Violence than White Residents in Non-Sanctuary Counties

Deaths per 100,000 white population in urban counties, by sanctuary status, 2015

CJCJ’s new report shows “sanctuary” areas are associated with enhanced safety and lower rates of deadly violence for white residents.

SAN FRANCISCO – December 12, 2017 – As the debate over U.S. immigration policy intensifies, sanctuary areas, which limit their assistance to federal immigration enforcement, have come under harsh criticism. In this new research report, CJCJ’s Senior Research Fellow, Mike Males, studies 68 large urban counties with various levels of ICE’s Priority Enforcement Program (PEP) compliance, to examine the impacts of sanctuary policies on public safety.

According to CJCJ’s report:

  • White residents in sanctuary counties are safer from homicide (53 percent lower), firearm death (62 percent lower), and illicit drug overdoses (26 percent lower) than white residents in non-sanctuary counties.
  • Urban counties with sanctuary policies are more racially and ethnically diverse than large urban non-sanctuary counties, with white residents making up less than 42 percent of the population as opposed to nearly 50 percent in the latter.
  • This report’s findings show that areas with sanctuary policies and greater racial and ethnic diversity are not associated with more deadly consequences, despite public opinion to the contrary. Particularly, white residents of urban sanctuary counties are substantially safer from deadly violence than white residents in partial or non-sanctuary areas.

Read the full report >>

For more information about this topic or to schedule an interview, please contact CJCJ Communications at (415) 621-5661 x. 103 or

Keywords: DJF, DJF/DJJ, DJJ, sanctuary cities

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