Wilson Yuan

Wilson Yue Yuan

Assistant Professor
Justice Studies


Immigration and Crime, Perception of Crime, Victimization, Corrections, Social Context of Crime, Sentencing, Youth Development, Quantitative Methods, Cross-Cultural Research

Current Research Activities

My primary research agenda documents how individuals and communities react to criminal victimization to cope with its negative consequences. In particular, I seek to contribute to an overlooked field within recent criminological literature: immigrants' victimization. To explain the sources of victimization, fear of crime, and the negative consequences of victimization among immigrant populations, my research examines the influences of an individual's social, environmental, cultural, and intrapersonal (psychological) factors. In Spring 2019, I applied for an NIJ grant entitled Neighborhood Crime Survey: An Examination of the Relationship between Immigration and Victimization (Funding opportunity number: NIJ-2019-15588), which was recently awarded ($1,020,671). Although significant advances have been made in understanding victimization trends for white and black residents, largely absent is understanding the factors that contribute to variations in other marginalized groups' victimization, such as Asian and Hispanic immigrants. Given the rapid growth of Asian and Hispanic immigrants and the marginalized socioeconomic position many in these subgroups face, there is an urgent need for a systemic understanding of the victimization experiences faced across different generations of Asian and Hispanic immigrant subgroups. My project addresses gaps through objectives, such as (1) identify patterns of criminal victimization across first-, second-, and third-generation immigrants; (2) identify patterns of criminal victimization across Hispanic and Asian subgroups; and (3) identify correlates of crime reporting among legal and illegal residents.


Research Connections to Current Events

Immigrants have been blamed for crimes in the US. It is essential to understand the relationship between immigration and crime from the victim's perspective. Specifically, previous studies often ignored subgroup differences and lacked a representative sample for legal and illegal immigrant populations. Furthermore, the frequent use of official data in studying the relationship between immigration and victimization fails to account for the potential systematic underreporting of crime among immigrants and those living in communities with a large proportion of legal and illegal residents. According to the 2017 National Crime Victimization Survey, 45% of violent victimizations and 36% of property victimizations were reported to the police. If immigrant communities systematically underreport crime for reasons discussed below, estimates of the association between immigration, crime, and victimization suffer from weaknesses in reliability and validity. 


Personal Connections to Research

The way news media portray of immigrants and my own immigrant experiences inspired me to do some research on the relationship between immigration and crime. 


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