Purpose – This study aims to not only investigate spatial pattern of immigrants’ residence and crime occurrences in South Korea, but shed light on how geographic distribution of immigrants and immigrant segregation affect crime rates. Research design, data, and methodology – Th unit of analysis is Si-Gun-Gu municipal level entities of South Korea. The crime data was obtained by Korea National Police Agency and two major types(violence and property) of crime were measured. Most demographic, social, and economic variables were derived from Korean Census Data in 2015. In order to examine spatial patterns of immigrants’ distribution and crime rates in South Korea, the present study utilized GIS mapping technique and Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis(ESDA) tools. The causal linkage was investigated by a series of regression models using STATA. Results – Spatial inequality between urban metropolitan vs rural areas was visualized by mapping. Assuming large Moran’s I value, spatial autocorrelation appeared to be quite strong. Several neighborhood characteristics such as residential stability and economic prosperity were found to be important factors leading to crime rate change. Residential distribution and segregation for immigrants were negatively significant in the regression models. Conclusions – Unlike the traditional arguments of social disorganization theory, immigrant segregation appeared to reduce violent crime rate and the high proportion of immigrants also turned out to be a crime prevention factor.


Immigrant Segregation, Crime, Spatial Pattern, Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis(ESDA).