PHOENIX - A recent study conducted partly in Phoenix showed Latinos are less likely to report crimes because of local police agencies' increased involvement in enforcing immigration laws.
About 44 percent of Latinos surveyed said they were less likely now to report a crime due to fear that officers would inquire about their immigration status. That figure jumps to 70 percent among undocumented Latinos, according to the study.
The report, " Insecure Communities: Latino Perceptions of Police Involvement in Immigration Enforcement ," was based on a telephone survey of more than 2,000 Latinos in Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago and Phoenix. The results were released Tuesday.
Of the respondents in Maricopa County, 50 percent said they were less likely to report a crime due to fear of questions about their immigration status. In addition, 70 percent of those surveyed said they believed police stop Latinos without good reason "very/somewhat often."
Viridiana Hernandez falls right in line with the survey. Her home was broken into last year.
"It was violating. I couldn't believe someone walked into my home and touched my stuff," said Hernandez.
She said she was afraid to call police because she was undocumented.
"I didn't want them to ask me about my papers," said Hernandez.
But friends pressured her and she gained the courage to call 911.
"When the officer got there, he asked for my papers. For me that was the scariest question," said Hernandez.
The Obama administration deported 409,849 people in fiscal year 2012, a 40 percent increase from 2007, The Los Angeles Times reported.