The Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini is being criticized after numerous racist assaults happened after he introduced his anti-immigration policy:

Italian Far Right's Salvini Under Fire After Black Athlete Hurt in Attack (NYTimes).

Asked whether these racist attacks were symptoms of a racism emergency in Italy, Salvini replied that migrants are to blame for a third of all crimes in Italy:

At the same time, he dismissed concerns over racist attacks in Italy, saying migrants were to blame for a third of all crimes in the country. "This is the only true drama," he said.

The full quote seems to include a specific number of crimes, 700 per day:

"We racists? The only alarm to the 700 crimes per day of immigrants "

"I remember that the crimes committed every day in Italy by immigrants – he adds – are about 700, almost a third of the total, and this is the only real real alarm against which I am fighting as a minister".

Here is a more notable source for the quote (one of the top-selling Italian newspapers), however the page is in Italian:

Salvini: "Il razzismo? Unico allarme sono i reati degli immigrati". Ed è polemica per la citazione di Mussolini

"Ricordo che i reati commessi ogni giorno in Italia da immigrati sono circa 700, quasi un terzo del totale, e questo è l'unico vero allarme reale contro cui da ministro sto combattendo"

Are a third of the crimes in Italy committed by (possibly non-EU) migrants?

  • 3
    Given that Italy is in the EU one needs to consider what exactly is meant by "migrants". The EU allows free movement of labor (and more restrictively of other EU citizens) in the internal market. Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 17:41
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    @Fizz More important would be context despite the exact definition used. If 1/3 of people in Italy are "migrants" then this isn't really a concerning stat. It's generally assumed that such a stat shows a certain group commits crime more than other groups. In isolation "group X commits Y% of crime" means nothing without knowing what percent of the population is group X.
    – user11643
    Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 18:14
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    @fredsbend: also, there's another issue (I recall a similar question somewhere on SE) where the illegal migrants were automatically guilty of the crime of illegal immigration, so that boosted their crime stats quite a bit. Actually the latter is related to what Berlusconi said: thenational.ae/world/europe/… " 600,000 migrants are 'ready' to commit crime in Italy" Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 18:21
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    Not a full answer, but considering that the immigrant population of Italy is about 8.3% of the total population, then he's saying immigrants commit 4 times as many crimes as non-immigrants, which would be easy to prove if true. Basically, when a politician says "I remember" or "I heard", they really mean "I have absolutely nothing to back up what I'm about to say".
    – Giter
    Commented Jul 30, 2018 at 18:28
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    @LordCommander Good answers provide context that address the message of the claim, not just the literal sense of it. I don't know how much you've read this site, but its true at least half the time that the facts of a claim conflict with the facts of the message. Providing both sets of facts makes a good and complete answer.
    – user11643
    Commented Jul 31, 2018 at 5:15

1 Answer 1


No part of Matteo Salvini's claim is true.

When looking at data from the Italian National Institute of Statistics(Istat), neither the 'one third' or '700' claim make any sense in regards to the number of crimes committed. Unless Salvini provides the source of those numbers, it's pretty safe to say either he or his source made them up.

However, roughly one third of total people convicted in Italy did have a 'foreign origin'. The claim is still wrong as not every foreigner in Italy is an immigrant, but it may be the reasoning behind Salvini's claim.

(all of the data in this answer can be found here)

Number of crimes per day: To start, the claim that immigrants commit 700/one third of all crimes committed daily is simply wrong: nearly 7000 crimes are reported daily in Italy. According to official Istat data, there were about 2.5 million reported crimes in Italy in 2016:

Number of reported crimes in Italy per year, average of about 2.75 million

The above is all reported crimes, including those where the offender and their nationality is unknown. Looking at only crimes with known offenders, there were 1500 per day in 2016:

Data showing about 500,000 crimes in Italy have a known offender

Therefore, in order for Salvini's '700' number to be correct either total crime dropped 70% since 2016, or the number of solved crimes has risen 50% since 2016. Neither of those are realistic, so the '700' part of the claim is likely just completely made up.

Number of foreign criminals: That that seems to line up with the 'one third' part of the claim is the number of convicted criminals with a foreign origin, which is roughly one third of all convicted criminals:

Data showing number of criminals in Italy by geographic origin, about 70,000 foreigners Italy versus 130,000 Italians:

As you can see, roughly a third of the 200,000 total convicted criminals were from somewhere other than Italy. However, it is misleading to say they are immigrants, as this stat includes every foreigner in Italy: immigrants, tourists, migrant workers, refugees, travelers passing through Italy, etc. Because of this, it is safe to say that the percentage of criminals who are immigrants is some large amount less than one third(and far below 700 per day).

In short, until we know where Salvini is getting his data we can say the claim is completely false. Saying that 700 crimes/a third of the total are committed by immigrants daily makes absolutely no sense, as the total number of crimes is much too high and the number of crimes with known offenders is too low. Saying that a third of all criminals in Italy are immigrants is slightly less wrong, though it is still not true.

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