Los Angeles illegal immigrants are hesitant to report their own rapes, out of fear they will be deported, the city’s police chief said Tuesday.
Los Angeles Police Department Police Chief Charlie Beck said sexual assault and domestic violence reports have gone down among the city’s Latino population, reports The Orange County Register.
Beck suggested that many Latinos were hesitant to interact with law enforcement officers out of fear that they or their family members could be deported.
“Imagine, a young woman, imagine your daughter, your sister, your mother … not reporting a sexual assault, because they are afraid that their family will be torn apart,” Beck said.
Reports of sexual assaults in the Latin community fell by 25 percent, according to Beck, since the start of the year when compared to 2016. Domestic violence reports also fell by 10 percent, Beck said. Other racial groups have not seen such a decline in crime reporting, he added.
The LAPD spokesman described the numbers as “concerning,” adding that the department planned to look at the crime report numbers more in depth.
A U.S. Customs Immigration and Enforcement spokesperson called Beck’s comments unfounded.
“The inference by Los Angeles officials that the agency’s execution of its mission is undermining public safety is outrageous and wrongheaded,” spokesperson Virginia C. Kice said. “In fact, the greater threat to public safety is local law enforcement’s continuing unwillingness to honor immigration detainers.”
The Center for Immigration Studies, a immigration restriction group, also criticized Beck’s comments.
“It’s highly premature to conclude that this decline in reports has anything at all to do with immigration,” Jessica Vaughan, the director of policy studies, said.
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