High crime rates among second-generation immigrants are usually attributed to the ethnic group’s social disorganisation and weak socio-economic position in the host society. According to the import theory, the causes of crime can however also be sought in their native countries or regions. Due to a lack of empirical data, this has rarely been tested, with Moroccan immigrants in the Netherlands as exception. Ethnographic research among small groups of delinquent boys in Dutch cities suggests that the rural background or the character of the Rif area of its Moroccan immigrants may explain their high crime rate. In this article we examine whether this holds true when all young Moroccan migrants in the Netherlands are taken into account. Crime data from a Police Identification Service System (HKS) at the individual level are linked with personal data from the Social Statistical Database (SSB) of Statistics Netherlands, including their (parents’) regional descent. Logistic regression analysis shows that the current socio-economic position in the Netherlands is a strong predictor of criminal conduct, while the impact of geographic descent, directly or indirectly via socio-economic position in the Netherlands, is negligible. Based on this study, there is no reason to revise the common explanation of the immigrant-crime nexus.
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