Article

Studying the reach of deterrence: Can deterrence theory help explain police misconduct?

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the authors.

Abstract

This article reports the first perceptual deterrence study of a sample of police officers. The study investigated the influence of traditional deterrence considerations, extralegal sanctions, and impulsivity on the intention to commit several hypothesized acts of police misconduct. The results were largely consistent with perceptual deterrence findings from samples of college students, experienced offenders, and corporate managers. In particular, this study found that both legal and extralegal sanction threats potentially deter police misconduct. Further, it found that impulsivity diminished the deterrent influence of both sanction forms. The study also found that some of the effects of the explanatory variables depended on whether officers had prior punishment experience. The article discusses the implications of its findings for combating police misconduct and for deterrence research generally.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the authors.

... Researchers have been studying police integrity and misconduct for several decades, primarily since the high profile incidents that led to national reports, such as those of the Knapp Commission (1978) and Mollen Commission (1994). Subsequently, a voluminous body of literature has uncovered various correlates of officer integrity and misbehavior, such as age (Donner and Jennings, 2014), sex (Pogarsky and Piquero, 2004), level of education (Kane and White, 2009;Lersch and Kunzman, 2001), length of service (Donner and Jennings, 2014), prior employment problems (Kane and White, 2009), personality (Girodo, 1991), officers' perceptions of misconduct seriousness (Kutnjak Ivkovic and Sauerman, 2014), pre-employment hiring process (Sechrest and Burns, 1992), police culture and the code of silence (Kutnjak Ivkovic, 2005;Kutnjak Ivkovic and O'Connor Shelley, 2005;Klockars et al., 2000), organizational fairness (Kutnjak Ivkovic and O'Connor Shelley, 2010;Wolfe and Piquero, 2011), and prior criminal history (Kane and White, 2009). ...
... Notwithstanding the important contributions of the above studies, examinations into the correlates of police misconduct have only recently begun to utilize traditional criminological concepts in an effort to explain police deviance. This growing body of literature has demonstrated the usefulness of several criminological theories, including deterrence (Pogarsky and Piquero, 2004), strain (Arter, 2007), social learning (Chappell and Piquero, 2004), and self-control (Donner and Jennings, 2014). Taken as a whole, these studies suggest that criminological theorywhich traditionally has focussed on why individuals in society commit crimeappears to be equally capable of explaining police misbehavior. ...
... This finding is consistent with prior studies showing that a gender gap also exists in police misbehavior (e.g. Pogarsky and Piquero, 2004). Additionally, more educated supervisors were found to be more likely to intend to conduct an unauthorized record check. ...
Article
Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to examine the relationship between social control (adult social bonds) and police misconduct. Design/methodology/approach – Multiple regression methods are used to analyze survey data from a sample of 101 first-line police supervisors. A consequence-based measure is used to capture social bonds and workplace deviance is measured as the self-reported likelihood of future misconduct. Findings – Police supervisors reported varying likelihoods of future workplace deviance across four acts of misconduct. Social control was found to be negatively related to three of the four acts, which provides general support for the theory and study hypothesis. Practical implications – The results are discussed in terms of research and policy implications. Originality/value – Acknowledging important gaps in the literature, this study explores the validity of social control theory for explaining police misconduct.
... According to Wolfe and Piquero (2011), one important deficiency of the police misconduct literature is the largely atheoretical nature of this scholarship. Although some recent research has begun to close this gap (e.g., Chappell & Piquero, 2004;Donner & Jennings, 2014;Kane, 2002;Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004), the relationship between self-control and police misconduct remains an under-studied topic in the larger criminological literature. ...
... Only in the last 10 years or so, has research been conducted on police misconduct using criminological theory. Nevertheless, important strides have been made in this literature, including the examination of police misconduct utilizing several criminological theories, such as social learning theory (Chappell & Piquero, 2004), strain theory (Arter, 2007), control balance theory (Hickman, Piquero, Lawton, & Greene, 2001), social disorganization theory (Kane, 2002), deterrence theory (Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004), and self-control theory (Donner & Jennings, 2014). Although prior research has assessed personality correlates of police misconduct (e.g., Girodo, 1991;Weiss, Rostow, Davis, & DeCoster-Martin, 2004), and Pogarsky and Piquero (2004) used one dimension (i.e., impulsivity) of Gottfredson and Hirschi's (1990) self-control concept to examine police misbehavior, only one study to date has directly examined the effect of Gottfredson and Hirschi's theory on police deviance. ...
... Nevertheless, important strides have been made in this literature, including the examination of police misconduct utilizing several criminological theories, such as social learning theory (Chappell & Piquero, 2004), strain theory (Arter, 2007), control balance theory (Hickman, Piquero, Lawton, & Greene, 2001), social disorganization theory (Kane, 2002), deterrence theory (Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004), and self-control theory (Donner & Jennings, 2014). Although prior research has assessed personality correlates of police misconduct (e.g., Girodo, 1991;Weiss, Rostow, Davis, & DeCoster-Martin, 2004), and Pogarsky and Piquero (2004) used one dimension (i.e., impulsivity) of Gottfredson and Hirschi's (1990) self-control concept to examine police misbehavior, only one study to date has directly examined the effect of Gottfredson and Hirschi's theory on police deviance. Donner and Jennings (2014) utilized data from a sample of 1,935 Philadelphia police officers and found that low self-control is significantly related to officer misconduct. ...
Article
Prior research has identified several individual, organizational, and community-level correlates of police misconduct, but studies based on theoretical explanations have only recently emerged in the literature. The purpose of the current study was to examine the potential relationship between self-control and police misconduct using both Gottfredson and Hirschi’s original version of self-control theory and Hirschi’s revised version of the theory. Data from a multi-agency sample of 101 first-line police supervisors demonstrated that self-control, as measured by both conceptualizations of the theory, was significantly related to self-reported prior engagement in police misconduct as well as the likelihood of future misconduct. The results are discussed in terms of theoretical and policy implications, as well as in terms of study limitations and directions for future research.
... responses to it has suffered from sampling agencies from small or midsized cities (Brooks and Piquero, 1998;Johnson, Todd, and Subramanian, 2005;Patterson, 2003;Violanti, 2004;Violanti and Aron, 1995;Waegel, 1984). Research has also reflected that fact that it is often focused on a single agency (Anderson and Lo, 2011;He et al., 2005;Lindsay, Taylor, and Shelley, 2008;Pogarsky and Piquero, 2004). Adding to the potential limitations of small sample sizes is that only those officers who have a specific function (e.g., patrol, plain clothes, Vice) are included in the research. ...
... Theoretical links between violent crime exposure and officer behavior are important. However, there is a dearth of research concerning theoretical explanations of police deviance (Pogarsky and Piquero, 2004). In the current study, general strain theory (GST) was tested to assess the validity of the theory to explain behavior in a police population. ...
... All sworn officers of the participating police departments were provided an opportunity Beyond geographic similarities, extant research largely suggests that police officers face common concerns and form friendships in similar ways (Brough, 2004;Pogarsky and Piquero, 2004;Shane, 2010;Skolnick 2008;Van Maanen, 1975). On point, Skolnick (2008) suggested that policing provides officers with lasting cultural features "One is surely that being a police officer is a defining identity, almost like being a priest or a rabbi" (p. ...
Book
Full-text available
The purpose of this dissertation is to test general strain theory as an explanation for the effects of violent crime exposure on police officers from large urban areas. Data were collected through the Police Work Experience Survey (PWES) on officers from three of the largest metropolitan areas in Texas: Dallas, Austin, and El Paso. Additionally, the findings were examined through the lens of the police subcultural perspective. Ideas for future research are also presented.
... A small body of research has highlighted the importance of measuring officer traitssuch as self-control-to determine whether individual differences affect perceptions and behavior. To assess the impact of self-control on officer behavior and perceptions, some scholars have used Grasmick and colleagues' (1993) 24-item self-control scale (Donner et al., 2016), while another study used Grasmick et al.'s four-item impulsivity scale (Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004). Regardless of the measure used, low self-control has significantly correlated with officers' engagement in misconduct (Donner et al., 2016;Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004). ...
... To assess the impact of self-control on officer behavior and perceptions, some scholars have used Grasmick and colleagues' (1993) 24-item self-control scale (Donner et al., 2016), while another study used Grasmick et al.'s four-item impulsivity scale (Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004). Regardless of the measure used, low self-control has significantly correlated with officers' engagement in misconduct (Donner et al., 2016;Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004). It follows that self-control may be correlated with officers' views of victims. ...
Article
Full-text available
Few studies have evaluated the effectiveness of sexual assault investigations training using experimental designs. Existing studies have not examined the impact of officers’ levels of impulsivity and education on training effectiveness. Using a Solomon four-group quasi-experimental design to assess pretesting effects, we examined the impact of training, impulsivity, and education on officers’ ( N = 432) adherence to rape myths and knowledge of victim reporting behaviors. Ordinary least squares (OLS) models were estimated to examine main effects of training, and moderating effects of impulsivity and education on training for our outcome variables. Results demonstrated that training, impulsivity, and education predicted improvements in attitudinal and cognitive outcomes. However, neither impulsivity nor education moderated—or changed—the effectiveness of training. In addition, training effects held over time, and we did not detect evidence of pretesting effects. Findings from this study improve our understanding of police sexual assault investigations training and provide methodological advancements for police training evaluations.
... Sarchione, Cuttler, Muchinsky, and Nelson-Gray's (1998) research further identified that officers who had been formally disciplined for misconduct scored significantly lower on three subscales of the CPI (responsibility, socialization, and self-control). While not directly assessing the effects of self-control on police misconduct, Pogarsky and Piquero (2004) used the impulsivity items from the Grasmick et al. (1993) scale to assess whether impulsivity mediated the relationship between deterrence and police misconduct, finding that impulsivity had a direct effect on misconduct. Recent findings also reveal that low self-control predicts officers' citizen complaints (behavioral self-control measure; Donner & Jennings, 2014) and officers' self-reported engagement in misconduct (Grasmick et al., 1993 measure;Donner, Fridell, & Jennings, 2016). ...
... Here, police administrators, background investigators, and oral board interviewers might seek to identify applicants who possess both attitudinal (e.g., on the Grasmick et al., 1993 scale) and other behavioral indicators of high self-control as opposed to simply hiring applicants who have no identifiable evidence of disqualifying characteristics. Further, given that low self-control is a known predictor of police misconduct (e.g., Donner, Maskaly, & Thompson, 2018;Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004) and intentions to use force more quickly (Staller et al., 2019), it seems even more prudent that agencies hire individuals who are high in self-control. ...
Article
Full-text available
Research provides consistent evidence that non-offenders have greater self-control than offenders. While such differences exist across a range of samples, the ability of measures of self-control to discriminate between different groups merits additional attention. We advance research on this topic by comparing the self-control of police officers to offenders. Results indicate police officers score higher than offenders do on global self-control. Results also indicate that, when analyzing differences across the six dimensions of self-control conceptualized by Gottfredson and Hirschi (1990), police officers consistently score lower in impulsivity, self-centeredness, and anger than offenders. At the same time, police officers have a greater preference for physical activities than offenders do, and the risk-seeking and simple tasks dimensions are inconsistently associated with being a police officer relative to an offender across the different models estimated. Discussion centers on the implications of these findings for theory and for the screening of potential police recruits.
... Limited work has extended this latent construct to decision making among police personnel. In particular, studies have thus far included impulsivity as a predictor of police behavior and specifically, police misconduct (Donner & Jennings, 2014;Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004). An examination of impulsivity among police personnel may be also warranted to better understand attributions surrounding trauma as the nature of impulsivity anticipates a lack of critical thinking and a reliance on stereotypes or methods of information gathering that do not require abstract thinking. ...
... misconduct, although measures have been inconsistent and internal consistency reliability was either not reported (Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004) or was lower than has been typically recommended for latent scales (Donner & Jennings, 2014). 8. SPSS, version 22.0 was used to analyze the data. ...
Article
Full-text available
Police perceptions of a victim’s self-presentation style can have an impact on secondary victimization, case processing, and public safety. Trauma survivors may present to police with flat or restricted affect, emotional numbing, and disjointed recollections. Often, police personnel have misperceived manifestations of trauma as indicators of reliability and credibility. Using a trend design, this study employed a sample of 979 police from one of the five largest U.S. cities to examine the relation between trauma-informed training and endorsement of trauma misperceptions. Multivariate ordinary least squares (OLS) regression models were estimated and revealed mean adherence to trauma misperceptions was significantly lower among participants who had completed training, controlling for demographic, occupational, and attitudinal variables. Implications and future research are discussed.
... Certain criminological theories are argued to explain the gender gap in offending; as such, they should also be able to explain gender differences in police misconduct. Scholars have used a variety of criminological theories to explain police misconduct, including opportunity (Kappeler, Sluder, & Alpert, 1998), personality typifications (Neiderhoffer, 1967), officer impulsivity ( Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004), ecological effects of neighborhoods (Kane, 2002;Klinger, 1997), and reduced deterrence (Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004). The most commonly used mainstream theories, however, are social learning theory and general strain theory. ...
... Certain criminological theories are argued to explain the gender gap in offending; as such, they should also be able to explain gender differences in police misconduct. Scholars have used a variety of criminological theories to explain police misconduct, including opportunity (Kappeler, Sluder, & Alpert, 1998), personality typifications (Neiderhoffer, 1967), officer impulsivity ( Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004), ecological effects of neighborhoods (Kane, 2002;Klinger, 1997), and reduced deterrence (Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004). The most commonly used mainstream theories, however, are social learning theory and general strain theory. ...
Article
Decades of research on police misconduct has produced mixed findings related to risk and protective factors. Though misconduct is a relatively rare and predominantly male phenomenon, demographic characteristics such as sex could provide context to better understand the influence of these factors in predicting misconduct. Using a large sample (N=3,085) of matched police officers in the NYPD and a split-sample analysis testing equality of coefficients, this study identifies how common predictors of police misconduct may operate differently for men and women.
... 46 Ibid. 47 Pogarsky and Piquero, 2004. benefits and wages in a range of different sectors. ...
... Smith and Holmes, 2014. 104 Pogarsky and Piquero, 2004.105 Juris and Feuille, 1973. ...
Thesis
What can explain variation in police abuse across America’s largest enforcement agencies? This question is salient given the media attention and the investigations conducted by the US Department of Justice finding problems of accountability and transparency in America’s policing apparatus. Situating itself on the intersection between public-sector union, special interest group, American politics, and criminology literature, this thesis argues that police union mechanisms, specifically police protections, can explain variation in police abuse. The study employs an originally constructed index of police protections comprised of police union contract and Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights (LEOBR) provisions. First, I find a positive and significant relationship between police abuse and police protections. Second, while local-level ideology has no influence on the ability of unions to create police protections, state-level ideology vis-à-vis state labour laws hinder the ability of unions to create police protections. Finally, to address alternative explanations for continued abuse, I present a paired, qualitative case study of Chicago, IL, and Dallas, TX. I demonstrate the importance of labour histories and minority law enforcement unions for creating better policing outcomes.
... This grandiosity and sense of infallibility (Balch, 1972;Tyler & Wakslak, 2004) can lead to blame externalization (Dick, 2000;Violanti, Marshall, & Howe, 1983) and insubordination (Talarico & Swanson, 1982;Weiss, Vivian, Weiss, Davis, & Rostow, 2013) in these officers. Furthermore, police officers exhibit higher levels of impulsivity than the general population, and findings suggest a positive correlation between impulsivity, police misconduct, and aggression (Harper et al., 1999;Koepfler, Brewster, Stoloff, & Saville, 2012;Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004). Equivocal findings across adaptive and maladaptive traits accentuate the need to elucidate personality profiles among police officers; the current research on negative attributes in some police officers suggests the existence of a few ''rotten apples" on the force (Griffin & Ruiz, 1999). ...
... This group also demonstrated lower levels of aggression in our sample and represented 15.23% of the total sample. The finding of a secondary psychopathic group among this sample of police officers is also in agreement with extant literature, which has found that certain police officers are more inclined to exhibit blame externalization (Dick, 2000;Violanti et al., 1983), aggressive behavior (Koepfler et al., 2012), and high impulsivity (Harper et al., 1999;Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004). Officers in the secondary psychopathic group of the present study exhibited higher levels of aggression, greater amounts of substance use, and more reports of psychiatric history. ...
Article
Recent high-profile incidents reignited the conversation about psychopathic traits in police officers. Psychopathy is characterized by multiple variants: primary and secondary psychopathy. There is limited research examining psychopathy in populations that may exhibit adaptive psychopathic traits. This study used model-based cluster analyses of high psychopathy scorers to investigate psychopathic subtypes in an urban police sample. Relative to the primary subtype, the secondary group displayed higher levels of Self-Centered Impulsivity, trait anxiety, covert narcissism, borderline personality disorder traits, substance use, psychiatric treatment, and aggression. These findings support the concept of successful psychopathy and the existence of psychopathy profiles in police officers, providing a useful look at how successful psychopathy may manifest as well as implications for the criminal justice system and police departments.
... This grandiosity and sense of infallibility (Balch, 1972;Tyler & Wakslak, 2004) can lead to blame externalization (Dick, 2000;Violanti, Marshall, & Howe, 1983) and insubordination (Talarico & Swanson, 1982;Weiss, Vivian, Weiss, Davis, & Rostow, 2013) in these officers. Furthermore, police officers exhibit higher levels of impulsivity than the general population, and findings suggest a positive correlation between impulsivity, police misconduct, and aggression (Harper et al., 1999;Koepfler, Brewster, Stoloff, & Saville, 2012;Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004). Equivocal findings across adaptive and maladaptive traits accentuate the need to elucidate personality profiles among police officers; the current research on negative attributes in some police officers suggests the existence of a few "rotten apples" on the force (Griffin & Ruiz, 1999). ...
... This group also demonstrated lower levels of aggression in our sample and PSYCHOPATHIC SUBTYPES IN POLICE 25 represented 15.23% of the total sample. The finding of a secondary psychopathic group among this sample of police officers is also in agreement with extant literature, which has found that certain police officers are more inclined to exhibit blame externalization (Dick, 2000;Violanti et al., 1983), aggressive behavior (Koepfler et al., 2012), and high impulsivity (Harper et al., 1999;Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004). Officers in the secondary psychopathic group of the present study exhibited higher levels of aggression, greater amounts of substance use, and more reports of psychiatric history. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Recent high-profile incidents reignited the conversation about psychopathic traits in police officers. Psychopathy is characterized by multiple variants: primary and secondary psychopathy. There is limited research examining psychopathy in populations that may exhibit adaptive psychopathic traits. This study used model-based cluster analyses of high psychopathy scorers to investigate psychopathic subtypes in an urban police sample. Relative to the primary subtype, the secondary group displayed higher levels of Self-Centered Impulsivity, trait anxiety, covert narcissism, borderline personality disorder traits, substance use, psychiatric treatment, and aggression. These findings support the concept of successful psychopathy and the existence of psychopathy profiles in police officers; providing a useful look at how successful psychopathy may manifest, providing implications for the criminal justice system and police departments.
... This is unsurprising since the theoretical explanations for misconduct have followed the same path. Theories such as opportunity (Kappeler et al., 1998), personality typifications (Niederhoffer, 1967), ecological effects of neighborhoods (Kane, 2002;Klinger, 1997), and officer impulsivity and reduced deterrence (Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004) have all been used to explain police misconduct. However, the most commonly used theoretical frameworks apply general strain theory (Agnew, 1992(Agnew, , 2006 or social learning theory (Akers, 1998). ...
Article
Despite a considerable body of research on police misconduct, findings have been mixed, with little consensus regarding its causes and best practices for prevention. Emerging research has focused on the role of gender in understanding and preventing misconduct. The current study examines the extent to which the features associated with serious misconduct differ between male and female officers. Using a unique complaint dataset from the NYPD, we apply a sequence of machine learning analytics to consider if it is possible to predict serious misconduct among either group, and whether key predictors differ between groups. The results show that it was possible to predict serious misconduct among each group with considerable confidence, while there were notable differences in prevalence, and type of misconduct between sexes. Findings hold important implications for policy, prevention and analytical approaches to police misconduct.
... A number of theories have been tested to explain police misconduct, including personality typifications (Neiderhoffer, 1967), opportunity (Kappeler et al., 1998), officer impulsivity and reduced deterrence (Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004), and ecological effects of neighborhoods (Kane, 2002;Klinger, 1997). However, the most common theoretical explanations apply social learning theory or general strain theory. ...
Article
Female representation in policing has stagnated over the past three decades, even with repeated calls for diversification. One explanation for this is that agency attempts to diversify the workforce are merely perfunctory—departments recruit and hire women to placate reformers, but then remove them at opportune times. Guided by the gendered organizations framework, this study uses secondary data from the New York Police Department (NYPD) to examine the extent to which the NYPD used the discretionary nature of probation to remove women from the ranks. We find that a substantially higher percentage of women (compared to men) were terminated from the NYPD during probation, and for relatively minor offenses. We discuss the theoretical and policy implications of these findings.
... The most direct effort in this regard is the specific oversight and enforcement systems put in place. Following the logic of deterrence theory, it is relatively common practice for agencies to shape behavior through policies that aim to increase the certainty of detection or the severity of punishment associated with non-compliance (Herath & Rao, 2009;Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004). Though as one recent study has shown, this approach may be complicated by the view among officers that the use of increased penalties is unjust (Harris & Worden, 2014). ...
Article
Police departments rely on administrative rules to set organizational priorities and establish systems of accountability. To that end, several departments require officers to submit data describing every traffic stop they conduct as a way of tracking officer activity and identifying any race-based disparities. This paper draws on an analysis of San Diego Police Department traffic stop records, as well as officer survey and interview data, to examine the validity of the traffic stop data gathered and the compliance-related motivations of officers. Findings indicate a 19 percent error rate in stop data submitted between 2014 and 2015, amidst evidence of substantial underreporting. Qualitative data suggest that officers see the policy as redundant and an infringement on more pressing aspects of their job. They doubt the ability of external stakeholders to interpret the data objectively and report a loss of morale, largely attributed to the perception that their actions are inaccurately racialized.
... Deterrence becomes most effective when the application of punishment for wrongdoing is certain, swift, and severe (Nagin, 2013). Research has shown that certainty of apprehension and swiftness of punishment produce the largest deterrent effect on individuals relative to severity of punishment (for example, Braga and Weisburd, 2012;Pogarsky and Piquero, 2004). BWC recordings provide objective, fair, and effective video evidence (White, 2014) that can be used against both the police and citizens, and they thus increase the certainty of punishment and the speed of punishment for both citizens and the police if either party acts in an inappropriate way and breaks the rules, thereby deterring both parties from doing wrong (Ariel et al., 2015;Braga et al., 2018). ...
Article
This study investigated the effect of body-worn cameras (BWCs) on citizens’ satisfaction with the encounter and citizens’ general perceptions of the police during traffic stops. A post-test-only two-group quasi-randomized experimental design was implemented. Drivers in the experimental group encountered the traffic police officers wearing BWCs and were notified that the encounter was being filmed, whereas those in the control group experienced business-as-usual traffic stops. A survey was administered to drivers after completion of the traffic stop. In total, 624 out of 860 stopped drivers (325 in the control group and 299 in the experimental group) participated in the survey. Both bivariate and multivariate analyses showed that BWCs increased significantly citizens’ satisfaction with the encounter and citizens’ general perceptions of the police.
... Wat geslacht betreft, vond men in eerder onderzoek in politie-en andere organisaties ofwel geen verschil (anDrEoli & lEFkowitz, 2009;zhang & DEng, 2016) ofwel dat mannen meer integriteitsschendingen rapporteerden dan vrouwen (bErry, onEs, & sackEtt, 2007;hErshcoVis et al., 2007;hubErts et al., 2007;Pogarsky & PiQuEro, 2004). kish-gEPhart et al. 1967', 'in de periode 1967-1976', 'in de periode 1977-1986' en 'in of na het jaar 1987' 20 . ...
Article
Integrity violations in 64 local police forces in Flanders (Belgium): an empirical study on incidence rate. Although few would doubt the importance of police integrity, actual empirical research on integrity violations in the police has been limited, certainly in Belgium. This article aims to address this lacuna by presenting the results of a survey containing both an observer-report measure and a self-report measure in 64 local police forces in Belgium (n = 3847). It presents a ranking of the most and least frequently occurring (types of) integrity violations in the participating police forces. It shows that, for most types, female respondents report less violations than their male colleagues. Likewise, older respondents report less violations than their younger colleagues. The fact that, for many types, civilian staff report less violations than police officers probably might have to do with the latter typically having more opportunities for integrity violations. We also found significant differences between the 64 forces on almost all types,suggesting that factors at organisational level matter. For full text, please click: https://lirias.kuleuven.be/2807937?limo=0
... particularly related to physical and verbal abuse. In the same vein, Pogarsky and Piquero 18 found that impulsivity mediates the influence of legal and extra-legal sanctions on the decision to commit hypothetical acts of misconduct. ...
Article
Full-text available
We estimate causal peer effects in police misconduct using data from about 35,000 officers and staff from London’s Metropolitan Police Service for the period 2011–2014. We use instrumental variable techniques and exploit the variation in peer misconduct that results when officers switch peer groups. We find that a 10% increase in prior peer misconduct increases an officer’s later misconduct by 8%. As the police are empowered to enforce the law and protect individual liberties, integrity and fairness in policing are essential for establishing and maintaining legitimacy and public consent1–5. Understanding the antecedents of misconduct will help to develop interventions that reduce misconduct.
... More recently, researchers have also applied general criminological theories to the study of police misconduct, often centrally featuring organizational or subcultural elements (Donner, Fridell and Jennings, 2016;Donner, Maskaly and Fridell, 2016). These theories have included social learning (Chappell and Piquero, 2004), deterrence (Pogarsky and Piquero, 2003), life-course (Harris, 2010(Harris, , 2016, low self-control Jennings, 2014), strain (Bishopp et al., 2016) and control-balance theory (Hickman et al., 2001). ...
Article
Full-text available
Purpose – Many examinations of police misconduct involve case study methodologies applied to a single agency, or a handful of agencies. Consequently, there is little evidence regarding the types of misconduct across agencies, or the impact of department-level characteristics on the nature and prevalence of officer deviance. The purpose of this paper is to address this research gap using statewide data of over 1,500 charges of police misconduct filed with the Arizona Peace Officer Standards and Training Board (AZPOST) from 2000 to 2011. Design/methodology/approach – This study examines variation in the prevalence and forms of misconduct across 100+ agencies based on agency type and size. Difference scores were calculated for every agency in the state to determine whether an agency’s level of misconduct was proportionate to the number of officers employed by that agency. AZPOST data were supplemented with Law Enforcement Management and Statistics data to identify organizational correlates of misconduct in agencies generating disproportionately low and high levels of misconduct. Findings – Results identify variation in officer misconduct across different types of agencies. Tribal agencies generally experience higher rates of domestic violence and drug/alcohol-related incidents. Smaller agencies have more misconduct allegations involving supervisors. Organizational characteristics including pre-hiring screening, accountability mechanisms and community relationships are associated with lower levels of agency misconduct. Originality/value – The use of AZPOST data enables a statewide examination of misconduct while accounting for organizational context. This study identifies organizational features that might serve to protect agencies against disproportionate rates of officer misbehavior.
... Scholars have empirically tested the role of certainty in a wide variety of contexts, such as cheating (Nagin and Pogarsky 2003), software piracy (Higgins et al. 2005), and police misconduct (Pogarsky and Piquero 2004), and consistently found that it acts as a stronger deterrent than severity. The police's ability to manipulate the certainty of apprehension for committing crime may therefore be fruitful for deterring crime. ...
Article
The present research examines the long-term, bidirectional relationships between calls for service, crime, and two police patrol strategies in Santa Monica, California: foot patrol and police stops. Using nine years of monthly data (2006–2014), we estimate two sets of block-level, longitudinal models to tease apart these relationships. In our first set of models, we use police actions and calls for service in the preceding month(s) to predict crime in the subsequent month. In our second set of models, we use calls for service and crime in the preceding month(s) to predict police actions in the subsequent month. We find that while changes in calls for service and crime often precede changes in police action, changes in crime also tend to follow them. For example, police stops appear to be particularly receptive to burglary: blocks with more burglaries receive greater numbers of police stops, and blocks with more police stops have reduced odds of experiencing burglary. We also find that the length of effects of predictors varies as a function of predictor and outcome: whereas some predictors exhibit short temporal effects (e.g. one month), other predictors exhibit much longer temporal effects (e.g. twelve months). Our results thus provide important insight into the spatial and temporal relationships between police actions and police incidents. Police actions must be neatly tailored to police incidents at precise levels if long-term deterrent effects at these levels are to be achieved.
... For example, some police officers may exhibit heightened narcissism and a lack of ethical principles, which could increase their probability of engaging in antisocial behavior, a hallmark of Factor 2 characteristics (Lorinskas & Kulis, 1986). Factor 2 traits such as impulsivity (Harper, Evans, Thornton, Sullenberger, & Kelly, 1999;Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004), blame externalization (Dick, 2000;Violanti, Marshall, & Howe, 1983), and resistance to authority (Balch, 1972;Talarico & Swanson, 1982;Tyler & Wakslak, 2004) are noted in some police officer samples. Evidence of Factor 2 antisocial traits among police officers may indicate the need for a more effective method of screening out problematic officers using psychopathic personality assessments. ...
Article
Full-text available
Psychopathy is a personality construct characterized by a lack of empathy, and by callousness, grandiosity, and superficial charm; typically, these traits are found among incarcerated individuals prone to antisocial lifestyles (Cleckley, 1976; Hare, 2003). In recent years, interest has grown exponentially in identifying psychopathic traits in populations where they may be adaptive in nature, such as business, medicine, emergency responders, and law enforcement (Babiak, Neumann, & Hare, 2010; Hall & Benning, 2006; Smith & Lilienfeld, 2013). When considering law enforcement, personality research suggests that certain traits reminiscent of psychopathy (i.e., decreased emotional response, low stress reactivity, fearlessness) may in fact aid an individual in carrying out police work (Bakker & Heuven, 2006; Schaible & Gecas, 2010). Alternatively, other psychopathic traits (i.e., emotional dysregulation, aggression, impulsivity) could be detrimental to police officers’ performance (Lorinskas & Kulis, 1986; Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004). As such, these traits could be considered when screening individuals to serve as law enforcement officers. To further explore psychopathy in police, detailed case illustrations are presented for two officers from an urban police department: one as an example of a positive manifestation of psychopathy in police, and the other as a less adaptive example. These case illustrations suggest that the benefits of psychopathic traits in law enforcement depend greatly on which traits manifest in officers. Practical implementations and areas for future research are discussed.
... To increase their CBR, individuals often use justificatory rationalizations to reduce their possible sense of guilt and shame for deviant behavior [cf., 134]; however, accountability acts in opposition to this process and balances this increased CBR. Furthermore, in a social media environment that allows the perpetrator to wield control over the victim, accountability neutralizes this control surplus by the perception that any deviant behavior will be sanctioned [104] by being discovered [118]. To conclude, perceived accountability in a social media environment arguably maintains control balance. ...
Article
Full-text available
The rise of social media has fostered increasing instances of deviant behavior. Arguably, the most notable of these is cyberbullying (CB), which is an increasing global concern because of the social and financial ramifications. This has necessitated a new line of research with the aim of understanding and preventing CB. Although much progress has been made in understanding CB, little is known about how to prevent CB, especially through the information technology (IT) artifact. Based on the need for a better causal theory and more effective empirical methods to investigate and mitigate this phenomenon, we leverage the control balance theory (CBT). Our model examines the causes of CB from several novel angles, including (1) the strong nonlinear influence of control imbalances on CB and (2) using the concept of fit to understand how different design features of information technology (IT) artifacts influence factors such as deindividuation and accountability, thus affecting control imbalance. Using an innovative factorial survey method that enabled us to manipulate IT design features to obtain a nuanced view, we tested our model with 507 adults and found strong support for our model. The results show that IT design features create a strong CB opportunity for individuals who perceive that they are controlled by others. Whether this perception is real or imagined, it creates a sense of vulnerability, prompting them to engage in CB. We can thus propose specific IT design feature manipulations that can be used to discourage CB. These results should have salient implications for researchers and social media designers, especially in developing social media networks that are safe, supportive, responsible, and constructive.
... To increase their CBR, individuals often use justificatory rationalizations to reduce their possible sense of guilt and shame for deviant behavior [cf., 63]; however, accountability acts as an opposition to this process and balances this increased CBR. Furthermore, in a SM environment that allows the perpetrator to wield control over the victim, accountability neutralizes this control surplus by the perception that any deviant behavior will be sanctioned [48] by being discovered [56]. To conclude, perceived accountability in a SM environment arguably maintains CB. ...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Online Social Media Deviance (OSMD) is one the rise; however, research in this area traditionally has lacked a strong theoretical foundation. Following calls to reveal the theoretical underpinnings of this complex phenomenon, our study examines the causes of OSMD from several novel angles not used in the literature before, including: (1) the influence of control imbalances (CIs) on deviant behavior, (2) the role of perceived accountability and deindividuation in engendering CI, (3) and the role of IT in influencing accountability and deindividuation. Using an innovative factorial survey method that enabled us to manipulate the IT artifacts for a nuanced view, we tested our model with 507 adults and found strong support for our model. The results should thus have a strong impetus not only on future SM research but also for social media (SM) designers who can use these ideas to further develop SM networks that are safe, supportive, responsible, and constructive.
... In fact, some empirical research suggests that it is a fairly powerful theoretical explanation for predicting criminal behavior (Weisburd & Piquero, 2008, p. 475). Pogarsky and Piquero (2004) expanded the scope of deterrence theory by 20 ...
Article
Full-text available
Recent citizen deaths involving police use of force have increased discussion surrounding police accountability and community relations. One piece of this discussion is the use of body worn cameras (BWCs) by officers. Unfortunately, little rigorous research has been conducted to estimate the effectiveness of BWCs in reducing problematic police-citizen interactions. In this paper, we estimate two measures of effectiveness of BWCs by comparing incidents that occur in a squad assigned cameras to incidents that occur in a squad assigned control. First, we estimate the effect of being assigned a BWC (but not necessarily using the camera) on reducing complaints and resistance associated with incidents. Second, we employ data on BWC use to estimate the effect of cameras if they were used with full compliance. Together, these two estimates provide a plausible range of effectiveness that policymakers can expect from BWCs. We find that BWCs have no effect on the rate of arrest or resistance, but can substantially reduce complaints.
... For example, some police officers may exhibit heightened narcissism and a lack of ethical principles, which could increase their probability of engaging in antisocial behavior, a hallmark of Factor 2 characteristics (Lorinskas & Kulis, 1986). Factor 2 traits such as impulsivity (Harper, Evans, Thornton, Sullenberger, & Kelly, 1999;Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004), blame externalization (Dick, 2000;Violanti, Marshall, & Howe, 1983), and resistance to authority (Balch, 1972;Talarico & Swanson, 1982;Tyler & Wakslak, 2004) are noted in some police officer samples. Evidence of Factor 2 antisocial traits among police officers may indicate the need for a more effective method of screening out problematic officers using psychopathic personality assessments. ...
... In addition to internal investigation, external control mechanisms of abusive and corrupt acts include mobilizing public opinion, special investigation commissions, and civilian review (Walker & Katz, 2012), all of which are expected to exert a deterrent effect on future offending. Prior studies have shown that legal and extralegal sanctions could prevent police misconduct (Pogarsky & Piquero, 2004) and that citizens support various initiatives to prevent misconduct, particularly when a high-profile incident occurs (Weitzer, 2002). ...
Article
Although using personal electronic devices to record police-public encounters has surfaced as an important social phenomenon that could potentially shape public perceptions of the police and police-community relations, very little research has investigated factors affecting people’s willingness to record the police. Using survey data collected from two universities, this study assessed whether race/ethnicity and social and legal consciousness influence college students’ inclination to record public interactions with the police. Results indicated that minority students and those who believed that recording served social justice, had a deterrent effect on the police, and was legally justified were more likely to engage in such behavior. Past recording experience and negative encounters with the police also led to higher levels of willingness to record police activity. Implications for policy and future research are discussed.
Article
Purpose This study aims to examine whether officers' perceptions of the probability of suffering informal sanctions mediate the relationship between formal sanction threats and attitudes toward misconduct. Most importantly, the study examines whether the potential mediating effect of informal sanction threats varies by the type of rank. Design/methodology/approach The current study utilizes data collected from a mail survey of 480 police officers over a period of six weeks from 20 police stations across two cities in South Korea. Findings Officers' fear of legal sanctions on the attitudes toward misconduct was entirely mediated by the fear of extralegal forms of punishment. However, this mediation effect was held only for the officers in supervisory positions. Originality/value Probing a moderated mediation between the type of rank and sanction threats on police integrity advances the literature by moving beyond simply exploring the additive effects of sanction threats and adds clarity to existing concerns about exactly how rank-related cultural differences matter.
Book
Ripercorrendone in modo rigoroso le principali teorie e tematiche, il volume aggiorna il dibattito critico sul discorso socio-criminologico, colmando il vuoto esistente nel mercato editoriale italiano su prospettive e sviluppi contemporanei delle teorie sociologiche della devianza e del crimine e proponendosi come un utile strumento di formazione critica per gli studenti di scienze sociali, politiche e giuridiche. È articolato in due sezioni. La prima è dedicata alla ricognizione delle teorie e approfondisce le strategie di identificazione e di definizione della devianza e del crimine all’interno dei diversi ambiti storici e intellettuali, con attenzione agli aspetti metodologici e agli sviluppi delle singole prospettive nei contesti contemporanei. La seconda, invece, intercetta ambiti e tematiche di attualità, approfondendo aspetti esplicativi e applicativi delle diverse prospettive e individuandone la spendibilità in termini di interventi e politiche. Il suo approccio del tutto originale rispetto ai manuali esistenti fa del volume un importante riferimento per chi voglia accostarsi allo studio sociologico delle devianze e del crimine nel mondo contemporaneo.
Article
This paper argues that patterns of pervasive police violence can and should be treated as organizational crime in Canada. It uses the documented events of police violence in Val d’Or, Quebec, that emerged in 2015 to show how a similar fact pattern might fit all of the elements of organizational crime as defined in the Criminal Code. The article also suggests that this is an example where legal imagination is important, in order to shift our collective understanding of what organizational crime is and where it occurs.
Article
New policing technologies have generated solutions to many policing issues. In particular, portable camera systems (in-car or body-worn) have been offered as a tool to address the issue of police excessive use of force. It has been argued that police camera systems increase transparency in law enforcement and deter both police officers and citizens from engaging in undesirable behaviors during encounters. However, the question of how effective these technologies are in increasing the accountability of police departments still remains unanswered. Some argue that the use of camera systems to record police behavior does not create a significant reduction in excessive use-of-force complaints or does not serve as an effective accountability tool as expected. From this perspective, this study explores the impact of in-car camera usage on police use-of-force investigations. This research examines the impact of in-car cameras on the total, dismissed, and sustained excessive use-of-force complaints against 891 police departments in the USA with more than 100 sworn officers. We employed Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) 2007 dataset to conduct this analysis. We utilized negative binomial regression analysis in STATA 15 to examine whether the adoption of vehicle camera systems by police agencies has an impact on dismissed and sustained complaints of inappropriate use-of-force. We found that the adoption of in-car cameras correlates with the number of dismissed cases; however, we did not find any significant relationship between in-car camera usage and sustained cases. Police departments using in-car camera systems are more likely to dismiss citizen complaints, rather than sustaining them. We concluded that video footages generated by in-car camera systems are inadequate in producing evidence to back up the complainants’ claims or in generating proof of excessive use of force for further investigation. Our findings suggest that police departments should not solely rely on in-car cameras if they want to enhance accountability and unearth police misconduct within their department.
Article
Full-text available
Bu çalışmanın temel amacı dokuz ülkenin polis örgütlerinin polis bütünlüğü düzeylerini karşılaştırmalı olarak analiz etmektir. Karşılaştırma için seçilen ülkeler; Amerika Birleşik Devletleri (ABD), Avusturya, Güney Afrika, Kanada, Kuzey Kıbrıs Türk Cumhuriyeti (KKTC), Macaristan, Pakistan, Polonya ve Slovenya’dır. Çalışmada, ülkelerin polis mensuplarının polis sapma davranışlarına karşı; (1) kendi ciddiyet algıları, (2) kendilerine göre meslektaşlarının ciddiyet algıları, (3) destekledikleri disiplin işlemleri, (4) bekledikleri disiplin işlemleri, (5) kendi bildirme isteklilikleri ve (6) kendilerine göre meslektaşlarının bildirme isteklilikleri yönlerinden polis bütünlüğü düzeyleri karşılaştırılmıştır. Araştırma sonuçlarına göre, karşılaştırılan altı yönden de, karşılaştırılan ülkelerin çoğunluğunun polis mensuplarının, (1) en fazla tahammül gösterdikleri polis sapma davranışları; Senaryo 1: Görev haricinde güvenlik sistemi işi yapma, Senaryo 2: Esnaftan bedava yiyecek, içecek kabulü, Senaryo 4: Esnaftan bayram, yılbaşı hediyesi kabulü, Senaryo 8: Alkollü meslektaş kazasını rapor etmeme ve Senaryo 10: Araba hırsızına karşı aşırı güç kullanımı iken, (2) en az tahammül gösterdikleri polis sapma davranışları ise; Senaryo 3: Hız yapan motosiklet sürücüsünden rüşvet alma, Senaryo 5: Olay mahallinden saat hırsızlığı ve Senaryo 11: Bulunan cüzdan içerisinden hırsızlıktır. Bu bulgular, polis kültürünün farklı ülkelerde ve farklı zamanlarda bile benzerlikler gösterdiğini ortaya koymaktadır. Diğer taraftan araştırma sonuçlarına göre, karşılaştırılan altı yönden de, karşılaştırılan ülkelerin çoğunluğundan farklı olarak KKTC polis mensuplarına göre, polis sapmasının “sivillere karşı polis şiddeti” türü, en fazla tahammül gösterilen ilk üç senaryo içerisinde yer almaktadır.
Article
The objective of this study was to examine changes in American recruits’ perceptions of the seriousness of behaviors related to police integrity from the beginning to the end of their academy training. Using a sample of 655 recruits from multiple academies in the United States, multilevel growth models were used. The results showed that the recruits rated scales related to misconduct, code of silence, and a noble cause less seriously at the end than at the beginning of their training. The results also showed that ethics training mitigated the effects of socialization, while organizational injustice intensified the effects of socialization. Female recruits rated the behaviors more seriously at the beginning and the end of training compared to male recruits. The results confirm the role of the academy in socializing officers into the negative aspects of the traditional police culture and highlight important avenues for police reform.
Article
Full-text available
The cause(s) of reduced use of force and complaints following police body-worn camera (BWC) deployment remain unclear, though some argue that BWCs generate a civilizing effect on citizen behavior. This potential effect rests on four pre-conditions: (1) BWC presence and citizen awareness; (2) BWC activation; (3) Escalated citizen behavior or the potential for escalation; (4) Citizen mental capacity for BWC awareness. Prior research has not established the civilizing effect’s existence, or how often these pre-conditions are met; this study aims to fill that gap. Data was collected during systematic social observation (SSO) of 166 encounters between citizens and officers in the Tempe, Arizona Police Department. The results tell a simple story. Two pre-conditions (activation, citizen mental capacity) are consistently met; awareness and escalated behavior are not. Overall, 1.2% of encounters saw all pre-conditions met. The paper concludes with a discussion of the implications for research on BWCs.
Article
To address police misconduct, law enforcement agencies traditionally have used deterrence-based methods–in the form of ‘external controls’, which monitor and punish unacceptable behaviour. Some scholars, however, claim that ‘internal controls’ are more effective for addressing workplace misconduct and these controls are produced when employees perceive a greater degree of organisational justice within their agencies. Using survey data from 15,807 police officers from 101 agencies, this study tests whether (a) organisational justice impacts officers’ attitudinal support for misconduct, (b) organisational commitment is the mechanism that mediates the relationship, and (c) elements of command-and-control enhance or detract from the power of organisational justice to reduce attitudinal support for misconduct. Results suggest that organisational justice has both a direct and indirect (through organisational commitment) effect on officers’ assessments of misconduct and that elements of command-and-control can enhance the power of organisational justice to reduce attitudinal support for misconduct among police officers.
Chapter
This chapter provides a systematic overview of the extant research on police integrity and explores the ways the original theory and methodology have been used and expanded. The analysis is based on an up-to-date review of the police integrity literature. The chapter compares and contrasts results from different studies, identifies common patterns across studies, and develops a classification based on the study’s goals and procedures. The chapter also discusses the results of the studies assessing the reliability and validity of the police integrity approach.
Thesis
Full-text available
The use of excessive force by police officers has always been of concern, but the issue has received increased attention due to media reports of deadly encounters. The dynamics of use of force encounters are not well understood, but some predictor variables have been identified: individual officer and subject characteristics, situational variables, and organizational characteristics. In response to public concern, some police departments issued body cameras to officers to mitigate the problem and increase transparency, though the true efficacy of the cameras is unknown. Publicly available data on use of force cases for 14 cities was examined to determine how well the data fit the proposed conceptual framework and what the role of each predictor variable was in the framework. The study also examined sentiment towards police on Twitter, to gather data that can be useful for predicting use of force incidence. Additionally, the data was examined in relation to the implementation of body-worn camera programs to determine whether there were significant differences in incidence rates before and after camera implementation, between cities with and without camera programs, or between cities with different policies. The study found that proportions of officer and subject race and gender were not representative of city demographics, but subject characteristics were representative of crime demographics. Subject race was predictive of the reason for use force, and officer race was predictive of the level of force used and the disposition of the force case. Situational characteristics were also predictive of the level of force used. The Twitter data indicated a significant difference between general sentiment and sentiment towards police, with sentiment towards police slightly lower. The analysis of the use of force data did not indicate any significant changes before and after body-worn camera implementation, or between cities with and without body-worn camera programs. The types of body camera policies, as measured via an Organizational Effectiveness Metric, did not exhibit any significant differences between cities. The study concluded that the proposed framework should be expanded to incorporate different levels of force as the dependent variable, with reason for use of force as an intermediate variable.
Article
Prior research has established that low self-control is significantly related to negative police behavior, but no known study has investigated the development of self-control in those individuals who become police officers, and its subsequent relationship to police misconduct. To that end, structural equation modeling is used to test the theoretical causal sequence linking effective parenting, self-control, and adherence to the police code of silence among a multi-agency sample of 1,072 police recruits. Though our data offer some support for the parental management hypothesis and for the relationship between low self-control and deviance, the results demonstrate that these propositions are not as clear-cut as theoretically presented. This study offers insight into these complicated relationships and the findings yield important policy implications for police administrators.
Article
Previous studies have identified numerous correlates of police misconduct, but no study to date has examined the impact of prior misconduct on the likelihood of future misconduct. Using a population heterogeneity/state-dependence conceptual framework, this study explores the potential influence of low self-control and prior misconduct on future intentions to engage in misconduct among a multi-agency sample of 101 first-line police supervisors. Across three types of misconduct, the results demonstrate stronger support for the state-dependent effect of prior misconduct. Specific findings, policy implications, and directions for future research are discussed.
Article
Purpose Research has established that low self-control is significantly related to harmful police behavior, but no study, of which we are aware, has investigated the relationship between self-control and adherence to the police code of silence. Methods Structural equation modeling is used to test the theoretical causal sequence linking self-control to the unwillingness to report fellow officers' misbehavior among a multi-agency sample of 1072 police recruits, while controlling for other factors associated with misconduct. Results Though our data specify some support for the general theory of crime, the results suggest that attempting to explain adherence to the code of silence is a complex and multifaceted endeavor. Impulsivity/temper was the only self-control variable, of three tested, to demonstrate a significant effect. Moreover, several other variables, including job satisfaction and cynicism, also significantly predicted the outcome of interest. Conclusions Self-control was found to be a multidimensional construct, and only the impulsivity/temper element was related to police recruits' unwillingness to report fellow officers' misconduct. Notably, though, other factors were also significant in predicting code adherence. This study offers insight into this important phenomenon and our findings yield important policy implications for police administrators.
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine whether homophily – whereby people are influenced by those perceived as similar to themselves – affects attitudes toward police misconduct. Specifically, whether demographic dissimilarity between police chief executive law enforcement officers (CEOs) and subordinates is related to differences in perceptions of misconduct. Design/methodology/approach The data for this research are drawn from the National Police Research Platform. Multilevel mixed-effects regression modeling is used to analyze data from 78 randomly selected US police agencies (78 law enforcement CEOs and 10,709 officers from those agencies). Findings The main finding is that demographic dissimilarity between the CEO and subordinates is associated with differences in attitudes about police deviance, net of other factors. Practical implications The results exemplify the need to diversify police agencies at all levels, not just the lower ranks. Because employees were found to be more similar to those one step (up or down) from one another on the organizational hierarchy, diversifying at all levels of the police organizations will help to reduce the social distance between those in closer ranks, which could ameliorate the dissimilarity effect. Likewise, police agencies may need to adopt new management strategies to compensate for a diversifying workforce. Originality/value This study builds on previous research and investigates an understudied topic in the policing literature by assessing the extent to which dissimilarity is related to attitudinal congruence about workplace deviance in police organizations.
Article
This Article offers a theoretical model that explains the persistence of what I will call "blue-on-black violence." Six features comprise the model. First, a variety of social forces converge to make African Americans vulnerable to ongoing police surveillance and contact. Second, the frequency of this surveillance and contact exposes African-Americans to the possibility of police violence. Third, police culture and training encourage that violence (mostly implicitly). Fourth, when violence occurs, a range of legal actors in the civil and criminal process translate that violence into justifiable force. Fifth, the doctrine of qualified immunity makes it difficult for plaintiffs to win cases against police officers, and when plaintiffs win such cases, police officers rarely suffer financial consequences because their local government indemnifies them. Sixth, the conversion of violence into justifiable force, the qualified immunity barrier to suing police officers, and the frequency with which cities and municipalities indemnify police officers reduce the risk of legal sanction police officers assume when they employ excessive force. This reduction in the risk of legal liability diminishes the incentive for police officers to exercise care with respect to when and how they deploy violent force. Although the foregoing factors are not exhaustive of the causes of police violence against African-Americans, they suggest that the problem is structural and transcends the conduct of particular "officers engaging in particular acts of violence against particular African Americans.
Article
This paper argues that the current focus of policing on problem officers is too narrow, both conceptually and in terms of how they are operationalized in the research literature, and instead proposes that scholars take a broader view of misconduct, particularly across officer careers. To do so, police researchers could adopt concepts from the criminal career paradigm, as this body of work allows one to characterize deviant behavior over time and does not require a compelling theory of misconduct in order to do so. Following this comparative work in policing would lead researchers to explore the continuity of misconduct of officers over time, instead of focusing on problem officers. What is more, by adopting concepts from developmental criminology, particularly the notions of trajectories and turning points, police scholars could develop explanations for particular patterns of misconduct over time. Finally, the risk prevention paradigm provides further guidance for police on how to combat misconduct and enhance current Early Intervention systems.
Article
Full-text available
Purpose: The current meta-analysis examines the link between self-control and measures of crime and deviance, taking stock of the empirical status of self-control theory and focusing on work published between 2000 and 2010. Methods: A total of 796 studies were reviewed for inclusion/exclusion criteria and yielded a final study sample of 99 studies (88 cross-sectional and 19 longitudinal effect sizes, analyzed separately). Random effects mean correlations between self-control and deviance were analyzed for cross-sectional and longitudinal studies, respectively. Publication bias was assessed using multiple methods. Results: A random effects mean correlation between self-control and deviance was Mr = .415 for cross-sectional studies and Mr = .345 for longitudinal ones; this effect did not significantly differ by study design. More males, studies based on older, or US-based populations, and self-report studies found weaker effects. No evidence of publication bias was found across the methods tested. Conclusions: Substantial empirical support was found for the main argument of self-control theory and on the transdisciplinary link between self-control and measures of crime and deviance. In contrast to Pratt and Cullen, but consistent with theory, the effect from cross-sectional versus longitudinal studies did not significantly differ. There was no evidence of publication bias.
Article
Police misconduct is a serious concern to scholars, police administrators, the media, and the general public. For a variety of reasons, a direct approach to the study of police misconduct poses considerable challenges. To ameliorate research hindrances, an alternative approach has been developed, focusing instead on its complement-police integrity. This chapter presents the theory of police integrity and the accompanying methodology. Each of the four dimensions of the theory, from the emphasis on official rules, curtailing of the code of silence, and the reliance on the internal control efforts, to the influence of the society at large, is described in detail. This chapter describes what an agency of high integrity should be doing along each of these dimensions. Next, a comprehensive account of the methodology has been presented and the two versions of the questionnaire described. The chapter also includes an extensive literature review of the studies that utilized the two questionnaires.
Article
This Article interrogates a critical, yet understudied, regulatory design choice the Supreme Court makes in each criminal case raising constitutional questions about law-enforcement conduct: not what the Constitution requires but how to implement its requirements. In particular, the Court must decide whether to address its decision directly to rank-and-file officers or instead to political policymakers, such as legislators and police administrators, who in turn will regulate officers on the street. In the former, dominant model, termed here first-order regulation, the Court tells officers precisely what they can and cannot do. In the latter model, second-order regulation, the principal objective instead is to enunciate constitutional values and create incentives for political policymakers to write the conduct rules. Framed differently, the Court, as principal, enlists political policymakers as its agents in the regulatory enterprise. Although first-order regulation predominates, a careful search uncovers bits of second-order regulation in spaces such as inventory searches and interrogation, and analogies in fields like employment and desegregation. The Article claims that second-order regulation should, in some domains, benefit suspects and criminal defendants in the aggregate by increasing the expected value of their constitutional protections. It should meanwhile facilitate efficient prosecution of the guilty. The benefits of agency, in other words, should in some cases outweigh the costs. Shifting rulemaking responsibility from the Court to political leaders harnesses certain comparative advantages of political institutions and permits experimentation in search of workable, well-tailored safeguards to protect constitutional rights. Even more important, social science research suggests that affording law-enforcement greater opportunity to participate in its own regulation encourages “buy in” that leads to improved compliance. The agency costs, in contrast, including “slippage” in the form of potentially underprotective rules, can often be reduced to tolerable levels. After making the general case for the second-order approach, the Article sketches where it should work especially well or poorly. It then reimagines several of the Court’s first-order decisions in a second-order model. Finally, it suggests a role in second-order regulation for other potential catalyst institutions, such as legislatures and state courts.
Thesis
This thesis tests one of the major propositions of deterrence theory: that increases in the severity of punishment can reduce the likelihood of offending. To this end, a case study in which the statutory penalties were doubled for almost all drink-driving offences in New South Wales, Australia, is examined. Two quasi-experimental studies were undertaken to assess the impact of these legislative changes: an interrupted time-series analysis of road crash rates (Study 1) and an analysis of drink-driving reoffending rates before and after the penalty changes were implemented (Study 2). Study 1 showed a significant increase in a surrogate measure of alcohol-related road crashes after the tougher drink-driving penalties were introduced. Further analyses suggested that this increase was driven primarily by a secular rise in non alcohol-related crashes that coincided with the policy’s implementation. Two possible conclusions about the deterrent effect of the policy are drawn from these findings: (1) that there was a reduction in alcohol-related road crashes which was overwhelmed by the rise in non alcohol-related crashes occurring around the same time or (2) that there was no change in crash rates. Study 2 found that drink-drivers who were convicted under the new penalty regime were less likely, and took longer, to reoffend than drink-drivers convicted before the introduction of the new penalties. This reduction in reoffending was only apparent for drink-drivers residing in country and regional areas and was small in magnitude.These latter findings are consistent with the possibility that the penalty changes coincided with a reduction in alcohol-related crashes but suggest that any decrease is likely to have been relatively small. A third study using a scenario-based survey methodology was also undertaken to examine the relationship between legal sanctions and willingness to drink-drive, controlling for other factors. The results of this study showed that participants who were more knowledgeable about drink-driving penalties were less likely to state that they would offend in the drink-driving scenario than participants who were less knowledgeable about the law. The implications of these findings for deterrence theory and criminal justice policy are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Research Summary Police scholars and public policymakers throughout generations have sought to identify reliable correlates of police misconduct. Despite these efforts, general statements as to the etiology and epidemiology of police misconduct remain inconclusive, in part because of the inconsistent definitions of misconduct and the difficulty of obtaining the data required to make such statements. This research attempts to fill these gaps through a comparison of the personal and career histories of all 1,543 officers who were involuntarily separated from the New York City Police Department (NYPD) for cause during 1975–1996 with a randomly selected sample of their police academy classmates who served honorably. The study uses confidential NYPD files as its major data sources, which include extensive biographical and career information. The study finds that career-ending misconduct rarely occurs in the NYPD and that the types of misconduct do not match well with existing definitions. Several factors emerge as significant predictors of misconduct, including officer race, minimal education, records of prior criminality and prior poor employment, failure to advance in the NYPD, and histories of citizen complaints.Policy Implications This study shows that existing definitions of police misconduct are difficult to apply to actual cases of police malpractice, which leads the authors to create a new eight-category classification scheme. The rarity of misconduct, especially on-duty abuse, confirms prior research indicating that most police officers do their jobs without engaging in serious malpractice. These findings suggest that the NYPD has become better behaved as it has become more diverse along race and gender dimensions and that the link between black officers and misconduct might be explained by persistent “tokenism.” The findings related to race have important implications for continued efforts to build racially representative police departments. Personal history findings highlight the importance of conducting background investigations that disqualify candidates with arrest records and employment disciplinary histories, whereas the inverse relationship between college education and misconduct provides strong support for continued emphasis on pre- and post-employment educational requirements.
Article
Deterrence theory describes a process of offender decision making that consists of two linkages—one in which official sanctions and other information affect a would-be offender's perceptions about the risks of criminal conduct, and another in which such perceptions influence the decision whether or not to offend. Decades worth of empirical research has concentrated virtually exclusively on this latter linkage, and in so doing, has produced an incomplete account of the deterrence process. This article develops a model of how perceptions of sanction certainty are modified in response to an individual's involvement in criminal activity and the consequences (if any) therefrom. Implications of the model are tested with data from a multi-wave, panel survey of 1,530 high school students from the southeastern U.S. Key findings include: the manner in which new information affects perceived certainty depends on the level of perceived certainty before the new information is received, and the extent of peer offending was one of the most influential factors in determining change in perceived sanction certainty over time.
Article
Full-text available
Police departments across the country have turned to geographic information systems (GIS) to identify crime patterns within their jurisdictions, design responses, and evaluate their performance. In addition, many agencies have adopted a geography-based, COMPSTAT-like process to hold police managers accountable for activity within their commands. However, a purely external and descriptive focus fails to take full advantage of all that a true GIS has to offer. This is particularly true when trying to understand complex police-citizen interactions. In this article, we demonstrate how police agencies can use GIS to shift some of their focus to more “internal” matters and take advantage of the inferential capabilities of the geography-based approach. We concentrate on citizen complaints against police in the city of Philadelphia over a two-and-a-half-year period (1998–2000). Data include the type of complaint, the location of the incident, the home address of the complainant, and a variety of census measures. Analytic tools used include ArcView GIS (Environmental Systems Research Institute, 1999) and CrimeStat (Levine, 1999). Future directions for police research and practice are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
Several recent studies report that punished individuals appear more likely to offend in the future and believe that the certainty of punishment is lower than do their less punished/unpunished counterparts. This article investigates two competing explanations for the latter finding. Under the selection account, punishment simply identifies the most committed offenders whose certainty estimates, even following punishment, remain lower than those of less committed offenders. The second account, resetting, invokes a judgment and decision-making bias known as the “gambler’s fallacy.” Under this explanation, punished offenders reset their sanction certainty estimate, apparently believing they would have to be exceedingly unlucky to be apprehended again. Herein, we report a preliminary empirical investigation of these explanations and address the challenge to contemporary deterrence theory posed by the “positive punishment effect.”
Article
Full-text available
Recently, Stafford and Warr identified four categories of experiences hypothesized to underlie judgments about the risk of legal sanctions: personal punishment experience, personal punishment avoidance, vicarious punishment experience, and vicarious punishment avoidance. Using original data to test the Stafford and Warr model, five key findings emerge. First, both personal and vicarious avoidance experiences relate positively to offending. Second, punishment and avoidance experiences affect behavior by influencing sanction risk perceptions. Third, the combination of low personal and vicarious punishment avoidance strongly dissuades offending. Fourth, prior offending conditions the influence of punishment and avoidance experiences in a manner consistent with Stafford and Warr. Fifth, while impulsive individuals are influenced primarily by their own experiences, individuals who are not as impulsive tend to attend more to the experiences of others. Finally, punishment experiences appear to encourage rather than discourage future offending. We discuss how the self-serving bias and the gambler's fallacy help explain this latter, anomalous result.
Article
Full-text available
Panel data fail to support a subjective expected utility model of corporate deterrence. There is partial confirmation, however, that chief executives of small organizations who perceive the certainty of detection as high have better regulatory compliance in their organizations. Perceived sanction threats do not work significantly more effectively for chief executives (a) of for-profit versus nonprofit organizations; (b) who are owners as well as managers; (c) who say they think about sanctions more (sanction salience); and (d) who have a weaker belief in the law. Nor does the effectiveness of corporate deterrents depend on compliance costs. There is, however, a significant deterrent effect for managers who are low on emotionality, but an opposite counter-deterrent effect for actors high on emotionality. This supports the critique of those who condemn rational actor models from a sociology of the emotions perspective. Emotions of guilt among managers predict the subsequent compliance of their organizations. The results are consistent with perceptual deterrent studies of individuals that find little effect of formal sanctions and social disapproval as deterrents, but stronger support for an effect of self-disapproval (guilt or shame) on law observance. Qualitative data are used to show why it would be folly to interpret these results as showing that business regulation can work without sanction threats and social disapproval. Rather, the data evince the need for a complete reconceptionalization of the way policy analysts think about the deterrence of law breaking.
Article
Full-text available
Pursuit driving has become one of the most controversial and litigated topics in policing. One consistent theme in the research is that pursuits are adrenaline-driven and are highly stressful for the police officers involved. This study analyzes force used after a pursuit as part of the effort to take the suspect into custody. The data are part of a larger research project that includes four jurisdictions: the Metro-Dade Police Department in Miami (FL), the Omaha (NE) Police Department, the Mesa (AZ) Police Department, and the Aiken County (SC) Sheriff's Office. In addition, data were collected from jail inmates in three of these cities or the neighboring areas. We found that most officers act professionally, but some become anxious at the end of a pursuit and tend to “pull the suspect out of the vent window” to make an arrest. Suggestions to reduce this unprofessional behavior include enhanced training, supervision, and accountability systems. Further, if possible, an officer other than the primary pursuit driver should take physical custody of the suspect.
Article
Full-text available
This article outlines a theoretical framework that distinguishes three forms of responsiveness to legal sanction threats: acute conformist, deterrable, and incorrigible. It then investigates the implications of the framework with data from a perceptual deterrence survey administered to 412 university students. The findings suggest the preeminent empirical regularity in deterrence research—that the deterrent effect of the certainty of punishment far exceeds that of the severity of punishment—may be overstated. An analysis confined to deterrable offenders suggests that the severity effect (relative to the certainty effect) may exceed that reported in extant research.
Article
Full-text available
The work of scholars who study police deviance has yet to result in the development of a substantive theory with which to frame their collective efforts. Recently, Tittle advanced a general theory of deviance that may help to fill this gap. The central premise of Tittle’s control balance theory is that the amount of control to which one is subject relative to the amount of control one can exercise (the control ratio) affects both the probability of deviance as well as the specific form of deviance. Examines the utility of control balance as a new theoretical orientation in police deviance research. Presents a framework for conceptualizing control balance within the special context of police deviance and, using data collected specifically for the purpose of operationalizing the control ratio, provides an empirical test. The data are drawn from a survey administered to 499 Philadelphia police officers. Scenario methodology was used to investigate the effects of officer control ratios on the probability of reporting a fellow officer who covers up an incident in which another officer was discovered driving while intoxicated (off duty), and second physically abuses a suspect in custody. Consistent with predictions derived from Tittle’s theory, results indicated that officers with control deficits are more likely to report fellow officers who engage in the behaviors portrayed in the scenarios. Future research directions are discussed.
Article
Full-text available
The present study examined three measures of impulsivity in samples of incarcerated rapists and child molesters. The focus of the investigation was the interrelation among these measures and the relation of these measures to juvenile and adult criminal behavior. The three measures correlated with different aspects of antisocial behavior, supporting the hypothesis that they tap different behavioral domains. The relative amount of planning and forethought manifested in the criminal act (the first measure) was unrelated to the other measures of impulsivity and covaried with sexual and aggressive motivational components of the offender. A general lifestyle of impulsive behavior as assessed by the MTC classification system (the second measure) was related to a general failure in the development of controls as reflected in preadolescent problems in mastery of life's tasks. Transiency, as reflected in ratings of aimlessness and unstable employment history (the third measure), defined most clearly a subgroup of child molesters characterized by a schizoid lack of cathexis, withdrawal and a seclusive, eccentric style. The results of this study have clear substantive implications both about the nature of impulsivity and its measurements, and about the specific MTC taxonomic distinctions that focus on impulsivity.
Article
Dictionary definitions of the term 'career' specify two different concepts: a course or progress through life, and a way of making a living. The term is used in the first sense here. A 'criminal career' describes the sequence of offences during some part of an individual's lifetime, with no necessary suggestion that offenders use their criminal activity as an important means of earning a living. A criminal career has a beginning (onset), an end (desistance), and a career length in between (duration). Only a certain proportion of the population (prevalence) has a criminal career and commits offences. During their careers, offenders commit offences at a certain rate (frequency) while they are at risk of offending in the community (e.g. not incarcerated or hospitalized) . On this definition, a criminal career may contain only one offence or many. For offenders who commit several offences, it is possible to investigate how far they specialize in certain types of offences and how far the seriousness of their offending escalates over time. One of the key distinctions in the criminal career approach is between prevalence and frequency. For example, the age—crime curve shows that the aggregate rate of offending increases to a peak in the teenage years and then decreases. Criminal career researchers investigate whether this peak reflects a peak in the prevalence of offenders or in the frequency of offending (or both). Actually, the existing evidence suggests that this peak reflects mainly variations in prevalence, and that individual offenders commit offences at a fairly constant frequency during their criminal careers (Farrington 1986). The major critics of the criminal career approach, Gottfredson and Hirschi (1986), argue that all criminal career features reflect the single underlying construct of 'criminal propensity'. According to this argument, if criminal propensity is high, the frequency of offending will be high, the age of onset will be early, the age of desistance will be late, and the duration of the career will be long. It is not necessary to distinguish • Professor of Psychological Criminology, Cambridge University, and President of the British Society of Criminology. Requests for reprints should be addressed to the author at the Institute of Criminology, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT, England.
Article
While sociologists have long debated the relationship between the status characteristics of criminal offenders and the sentences they receive, they have done so with data sets drawn from state courts whose prosecutorial resources are focused almost entirely on low status defendants. Qualitative and quantitative data analyzed in this paper are drawn from ten federal district courts whose statutes and resources provide greater potential for the prosecution of the white-collar crimes of higher status offenders. Three questions are addressed: (1) Are there substantial jurisdictional differences in the prosecution of white-collar cases? if so, (2) Are there corresponding jurisdictional differences in the sentencing of white-collar cases? and (3) Within jurisdictions, are there further differences in the factors that influence sentencing decisions in white-collar as compared to other kinds of cases? The data are analyzed from a perspective that emphasizes organizational considerations: we conceptualize the criminal justice process as a loosely coupled system and the use of prosecutorial resources as proactive and reactive. We argue that the expanded prosecution of white-collar persons for their white-collar crimes requires a proactive prosecutorial policy and a tightening of the coupling between plea negotiations and sentencing decisions in the prosecutorial and judicial subsystems. Our quantitative analysis reveals that one district follows a uniquely proactive pattern. As expected, this proactive district also exhibits a unique leniency in the sentencing of college educated white-collar criminals that is related to earlier plea and charging decisions. A rather different and unanticipated pattern of leniency is found in this district for less educated white-collar offenders. A conclusion of this study is that there may be an inverse relationship between the volume of white-collar prosecutions and the severity with which they are sentenced.
Article
"This book . . . examines the problem of police corruption . . . in such a way that the stereotype of the crude, greedy cop who is basically a grown-up delinquent, if not an out-and-out robber, yields to portraits of particular men, often of earnest good will and even more than ordinary compassion, contending with an enormously demanding and challenging job."—Robert Coles, New Yorker "Other social scientists have observed policemen on patrol, or have interviewed them systematically. Professor Muir has brought the two together, and, because of the philosophical depth he brings to his commentaries, he has lifted the sociology of the police on to a new level. He has both observed the men and talked with them at length about their personal lives, their conceptions of society and of the place of criminals within it. His ambition is to define the good policeman and to explain his development, but his achievement is to illuminate the philosophical and occupational maturation of patrol officers in 'Laconia' (a pseudonym) . . . . His discussions of [the policemen's] moral development are threaded through with analytically suggestive formulations that bespeak a wisdom very rarely encountered in reports of sociological research."—Michael Banton, Times Literary Supplement
Article
Using data from a survey of students in six Arizona high schools, this paper examines the relation between perceived risk of punishment and self- reported delinquency. Consistent with the deterrence doctrine, the relation is inverse regardless of the location of the schools (metropolitan or small town), type of delinquency, or the kind of measure of perceived risk. However, measures of perceived personal risk (the individual's perception of his or her own risk) provide more consistent support for the deterrence doctrine than measures of perceived aggregate risk (perception of the risk for all juveniles in the same community). Moreover, personal risk is inversely related to delinquency even when social condemnation of delinquent offenses, attachment to conventional persons, and several status characteristics (e.g., age, sex) of the students are taken into account.
Article
The development of Gottfredson and Hirschi's general theory of crime (1990; see also Hirschi & Gottfredson 1987, 2000) has provoked lively debate about the merits of the theory as applied to organizational crime (Steffensmeier 1989; Reed & Yeager 1996; Herbert et al. 1998). While the debate is provocative, the empirical evidence brought to bear is an insufficient test of competing theoretical claims. Using data drawn from a factorial survey administered to a group of corporate managers and managers-in-training, we subject Gottfredson and Hirschi's theory of crime and an integrated organizational theory to a theoretical competition. The results show that corporate offending propensity and behavioral indicators of low self-control are unrelated, a result inconsistent with the general theory. Instead, variables consistent with an integrated materialistic and cultural organizational theory predict managers' offending intentions. For instance, offending is inhibited when a firm has a working compliance program and when managers perceive the illegal act as highly immoral. Conversely, managers are more apt to offend when ordered to do so by a supervisor, or to gain financial or market position vis-à-vis competitors. The implications for general and organizational theories of corporate offending are discussed.
Article
Using a combination of hypothetical scenarios and survey-type questions, this study investigates the effect of the context of the offense, formal sanctions, informal sanctions, and moral beliefs on self-reported projections to commit sexual assault. Male college students read and responded to five scenarios each describing a hypothetical sexual assault by a male. Respondents were asked to estimate the certainty of formal and informal punishment for the scenario male, the extent to which they believed the male's actions were morally wrong, and the likelihood that they would do what the male did under the same circumstances. We found that projections to commit sexual assault were affected by two circumstances of the incident, the likelihood that the male would be formally sanctioned (dismissed from the university or arrested) and the respondent's moral beliefs. The significant deterrent effect observed for formal sanction threats was not invariant, however. The fear of formal sanctions had no effect when respondents were inhibited by their moral evaluation of the incident. The deterrent effect of formal sanction threats did not vary by the level of social censure for the scenario male's actions. The implications of these finding for previous and subsequent deterrence research are discussed.
Article
We propose that significant others and conscience function as agents of social control in a manner similar to the State. All three pose possible threats or costs that are more or less certain and severe which actors take into account in considering whether or not to violate the law. State-imposed costs, which have been addressed in the literature on deterrence, are material deprivations in the form of fines and incarceration. Socially imposed costs are the embarrassment or loss of respect actors might experience when they violate norms which significant others support. Self-imposed costs are shame or guilt feelings which actors might impose upon themselves when they offend their own conscience by engaging in behaviors they consider morally wrong. The threats of shame and embarrassment, like the threat of legal sanctions, affect the expected utility of crime and, thus, the likelihood that crime will occur. In the research reported here, parallel measures are developed of the perceived threats of each of these three kinds of punishment for three illegal behaviors (tax cheating, petty theft, drunk driving). The effects of these perceived threats on people's intentions to violate the law are then examined in a random sample of adults. Threats of shame and of legal sanctions inhibit the inclination to commit each of the three offenses, but the findings for embarrassment appear less compatible with the expected utility model.
Article
Previous work dealing with the deterrent effects of legal sanctions has lacked an appropriate sociological context. This paper adopts a theoretical perspective which views legal threats as only one mechanism which may produce conformity. Our framework, which is consistent with both the social control and social influence literature, emphasizes the possible importance of extralegal factors in the production of conformity. We illustrate the methodological implications of our approach empirically with a test of the deterrence doctrine that focuses on the use of marijuana. A multiple regression analysis of data obtained from a sample of both marijuana users and nonusers in a jurisdiction with severe penalties for the use of marijuana indicates that the criminal law receives support from certain extralegal inhibitory influences. Moreover, when the relative efficacy of these extralegal influences are compared to the controlling effects of legal threats, the extralegal influences are found to be the more important.
Article
In contrast to a recent survey conducted by Miller and Simpson, two earlier surveys of adults, one conducted in 1972 and the other in 1982, reported that women scored higher than men on measures of what Grasmick and Bursik recently have called perceived threats of shame and embarrassment, as well as legal sanctions, for violating the law. Hagan's power-control theory, coupled with trends in labor force and household composition, is used to predict a decline over time in the magnitude of the effect of sex on perceived threats of sanctions. The 1982 survey is merged with an identical one conducted in 1992 to determine whether men and women have become more alike in their perception of these threats. Evidence supporting the predictions from power-control theory is found for theft but not for assault. The findings are discussed in the context of various theories and previous research concerning gender, crime, and social control.
Article
In a recent restatement of the deterrence doctrine, Stafford and Warr (1993) argued that deterrence is felt through a mixture of personal and vicarious experiences with punishment and the avoidance of punishment. An implication of the premise that persons may be affected by both what they directly experience and what they only indirectly experience through others is that they may be influenced by both general and specific deterrence mechanisms. In an empirical test of this reconceptualization, the authors found that persons' expressed intentions to drink and drive are affected by (1) personal and vicarious experiences and (2) punishment and punishment avoidance. Strong deterrent effects were found for the perceived certainty of punishment that is directed at one's self. The authors also found that moral beliefs that prohibit drunk driving are an effective source of inhibition. In addition, the social control of drunk driving seems to operate equally well for men and women.
Article
In a recent meta-analysis of attitude-behavior research, the authors of this article found a strong overall attitude-behavior relationship (r = .79) when methodological artifacts are eliminated. The trend in A-B research, however, is to conceive of behavioral intentions (BI) as a mediator between attitudes (A) and behaviors (B). In this study, it is hypothesized that (a) A-BI correlation would be higher than A-B correlation, (b) BI-B correlation would be higher than A-B correlation, (c) A-BI correlation would be higher than BI-B correlation, (d) the variation in BI-B correlations would be greater than that of A-BI, and (e) attitudinal relevance would affect the magnitude of the A-BI correlation. A series of meta-analyses, integrating the findings of 92 A-BI correlations (N = 16,785) and 47 B-BI correlations (N = 10,203) that deal with 19 specified categories and a variety of miscellaneous topics was performed. The results were consistent with all five hypotheses. The theoretical and methodological implications are discussed.
Article
This is an analysis of the social context of normal police lies. We define lies as speech acts which the speaker knows are misleading or false, are intended to deceive, and where evidence to the contrary is known to the observer. Lies are relative to a moral context, and what an audience will accept. Lies include excuses, which deny full responsibility for an act, but acknowledge its immorality, and justifications, which accept responsibility but deny blame-worthiness. Police learn to lie and to carefully distinguish normal (or acceptable) lies from unacceptable lies, suggesting that lies are a part of a negotiated occupational order. We show how and why some types of lies are rewarded by police using ethnographic data from an 18 month field study of a large urban force. Lies can be of little issue, or become troublesome. We report and analyze two kinds of troublesome lies: case lies, recognized stories an officer utilizes in a courtroom or on paper to facilitate the conviction of a suspect, and cover stories, lies an officer tells in court, to supervisors, and on the job with the aim of providing a verbal shield or mitigation in the event of discipline. Both excuses and justifications are woven together in these vignettes. An example of a refusal to lie is used to illustrate some of the limits on lying as well organizational factors in lying. Some implications for official lying are also noted.
Article
This study examines the relationship between the experience of punishment for crime and the perceived threat of punishment. The study uses data from a survey of criminal offenders to test whether punishment is associated with levels of perceived threat. Punishment is found to be weakly associated with perceived threat for most offenders. Other factors, including educational attainment, beliefs about immunity from punishment, and persons' offense histories are strongly associated with threat perceptions. The implications of these findings for the study of deterrence and criminal recidivism are discussed.
Article
In a recent article, Stafford and Warr (1993) presented a reconceptualization of the deterrence doctrine where general deterrence is taken to be the result of persons' vicarious experiences. Such vicarious experiences include, among other things, knowledge of the criminal activity of others and the consequences or lack of consequences of that activity. Specific deterrence is taken to be the result of persons' own personal experiences. These personal experiences include, among other things, own experience with punishment and punishment avoidance. In their reconceptualized deterrence theory, persons may concurrently be subject to both general and specific deterrent effects, some persons may be affected more by one type of deterrence than the other, and the two types of deterrent effects may reinforce one another. In addition, they argue that their version of deterrence theory promises some insight into current controversies in the literature. In this article, the authors first review and expand Stafford and Warr's reconceptualization of deterrence, and then subject some central hypotheses to empirical test. Although the authors' data are modest and cannot test all of the implications of Stafford and Warr's argument, the findings indicate that Stafford and Warr's reconceptualization promises to be a fruitful line of inquiry for those interested in the development of deterrence theory.
Article
Decisions to commit crimes are often made under the influence of visceral feelings such as anger or sexual arousal. Rational choice models of offender decision-making assume that individuals can anticipate, in an unaroused state, their responses to such visceral feelings. This assumption is tested in an experiment in which sexually aroused and nonaroused males predict their own behavior in a date rape scenario. Aroused and nonaroused participants were asked a battery of questions designed to measure their perceptions of the costs and benefits of acting in a sexually aggressive manner, their level of arousal, and a probabilistic prediction as to how aggressively they would act in the conditions described in the scenario. The authors find that sexual arousal does increase subjects' expectations of their own sexual aggressiveness and that this impact is not mediated by perceptions of the costs or benefits of such aggression.
Article
Two limitations of perceptual deterrence research are that it generally uses samples with high stakes in conformity and does not examine interrelations between the threat of legal sanctions, social sanctions, and internalized norms. Although some results suggest that the perceived certainty of legal sanctions deters, little is known about perceptions of inner-city teenagers responsible for a disproportionate amount of recorded crime. This study tested the hypotheses that perceived risk of arrest would not relate to delinquency among a sample of inner-city high school students and that internalized norms mediate the relation between social sanctions and delinquency. Risk of arrest was not related to self-reported delinquency, even at the bivariate level; and multivariate analyses indicated that peers, adult models, and the severity of parents' punishment were the significant predictors of behavior. The results also supported the hypothesis that internalized norms mediate the impact of social sanctions associated with delinquency.
Article
In A General Theory of Crime, Gottfredson and Hirschi propose that low self-control, in interaction with criminal opportunity, is the major cause of crime. The research reported in this article attempts to test this argument while closely following the nominal definitions presented by Gottfredson and Hirschi. A factor analysis of items designed to measure low self-control is consistent with their contention that the trait is unidimensional. Further, the proposed interaction effect is found for self-reported acts of both fraud and force (their definition of crime). Inconsistent with the theory are (a) the finding that criminal opportunity has a significant main effect, beyond its interaction with low self-control, on self-reported crime and (b) the substantial proportion of variance in crime left unexplained by the theoretical variables. Suggestions are offered for modifying and expanding the theory.
Article
The present research draws from theories in criminology which suggest that threats of shame, a self-imposed punishment, and threats of embarrassment, a socially imposed punishment, function much like threats of state-imposed legal sanctions to reduce the expected utility of illegal behavior and, thus, to increase the likelihood of compliance with the law. Antilittering campaigns that appeal to citizens' conscience or sense of community pride are attempts to increase the threats of shame and embarrassment for littering. The antilittering campaign in Oklahoma is such an appeal. A sample of residents of Oklahoma City was interviewed in 1982, five years prior to the initiation of that campaign. Another sample was interviewed in 1989, two years after the campaign began. In 1982, 39% of the respondents indicated they probably would litter in the future, compared to 31% in 1989. In 1982, only 37% strongly agreed that they would feel guilty if they littered, compared to 67% in 1989. Likewise, in 1982, only 8% believed they definitely would lose the respect of others if they littered, compared to 21% in 1989.
Article
Deterrence theory has been developed primarily by economists, who have viewed potential criminals as rational decision-makers faced with an array of illicit opportunities characterized by costs (time, possible adverse legal consequences, and so forth) and payoffs. The crime decision is thus characterized in a way that fits the well-developed theoretical framework of decision-making under uncertainty. Herbert Simon and others have questioned the descriptive accuracy of this theory, and are beginning to uncover systematic patterns in decision-making that violate the predictions of the economic theory: this work could usefully be incorporated into the crime choice framework. One of the most important issues for further research in this area is the way in which potential criminals acquire information about criminal opportunities and the effectiveness of the criminal justice system. A simple "realistic" model of threat communication can be outlined that yields deterrence-like effects, even though no one is wel...
Article
This paper critically examines the role of the perceived certainty and severity of punishment in deterring criminal/deviant behavior. A thorough review of the perceptual deterrence literature from 1972–1986 is provided which indicates that cross-sectional correlations between perceptions of sanction threats and self-reported criminal/deviant behavior are moderately negative for diverse offenses, consistent with the deterrence doctrine. It is noted that rather than expressing the deterrent effect, these correlations probably indicate the effect of prior behavior on currently held perceptions—the experiential effect. In addition, since in many instances the reported correlations express simple bivariate relationships, the association may be spurious rather than causal. When researchers employing panel designs have estimated the deterrent relationship with variables in their correct temporal ordering and with more fully specified causal models, the moderate inverse effect for both perceived certainty and severity disappears. Although this would argue strongly for the continued utilization of longitudinal data and fully developed models of deterrence/social control, recent commentaries have raised questions about this line of perceptual deterrence research. These arguments are assessed and an agenda for future deterrence research suggested.
Article
This paper builds on work by Nagin and Paternoster in which they contend that two recent developments in criminological theory, self-control and rational choice, have been explored separately rather than in conjunction with one another. In their analysis, Nagin and Paternoster found direct effects for variables from each of these theories and called for more research into simultaneous examination of the two. We build on their work by delineating a more highly specified model of rational offending, in which we observe that the research thus far has not examined the indirect effects of low self-control. We believe that this area is grossly underdeveloped and that such an examination is necessary for a more complete understanding of criminal offending. We advance three hypotheses concerning the integration of low self-control into a rational choice framework: (1) that low self-control will have both direct and indirect effects via situational characteristics on intentions to shoplift and drive drunk; (2) that situational characteristics will have direct effects on intentions to deviate, as well as effects on other situational factors; and (3) that a model uniting the effects of low self-control and situational characteristics will provide a good fit to the data. We find support for all these hypotheses and suggest that future theoretical developments will be improved by the integration of low self-control with situational characteristics in a more general model of offending.
Article
External, Governmental Mechanisms of Police Accountability: Three Investigative Structures by Thomas E. Perez, Deputy Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Justice, compares the U.S. federal grand jury system to the Independent Complaints Directorate in South Africa and the national Human Rights Commission in India. The paper examines the strengths and weaknesses shared by governmental oversight structures in these three democracies, identifies ways they might be improved, and determines whether lessons are transferable from one to another.
Article
We specify and test a rational choice model of corporate crime. This model includes measures of the perceived costs and benefits of corporate crime (for both the firm and the individual), perceptions of shame, persons' assessment of the opprobrium of the act, and contextual characteristics of the organization. Consistent with this model, we find that intentions to commit four types of corporate crime are affected by sanction threats (formal and informal), moral evaluations, and organizational factors. Net of the various incentives and disincentives for corporate crime, persons' personal moral code was found to be a very important source of inhibition. In fact, when moral inhibitions were high, considerations of the cost and benefit of corporate crime were virtually superfluous. When moral inhibitions were weak, however, persons were deterred by threats of formal and informal sanctions and by organizational context. We contend that theoretical models of corporate crime and public policy efforts must contain both instrumental (threats of punishment) and deontological (appeals to morality) factors.
Article
Background The product-moment correlation r is widely used in criminology and psychiatry to measure strength of association. However, most criminological and psychiatric variables contravene its underlying assumptions.AimTo compare statistical measures of association based on dichotomous variables with the use of r.Method Explanatory variables for delinquency are investigated in the Pittsburgh Youth Study using a sample of 506 boys aged 13–14.ResultsDichotomization does not necessarily cause a decrease in measured strength of associations. Conclusions about the most important explanatory variables for delinquency were not greatly affected by using dichotomous as opposed to continuous variables, by different dichotomization splits, or by using logistic versus OLS multiple regression. Non-linear relationships, interaction effects and multiple risk factor individuals were easily studied using dichotomous data.Conclusions Dichotomization produces meaningful findings that are easily understandable to a wide audience. Measures of association for dichotomous variables, such as the odds ratio, have many advantages and are often more realistic and meaningful measures of strength of relationship than the product-moment correlation r. Copyright © 2000 Whurr Publishers Ltd.
Article
In the last decade, individual-level deterrence research has employed several measures of self-reported illegal behavior to test deterrence theory hypotheses that perceived threat of sanctions is inversely related to involvement in illegal behavior. Early cross-sectional studies utilized self-reports of past involvement, while later research efforts focused on estimated future behavior or sometimes both. More recently, deterrence researchers have employed longitudinal designs that have allowed for measures of actual future illegal behavior. However, no perceptual deterrence research to date has employed a panel design to compare deterrence theory findings for future estimates of involvement in illegal behavior at Time 1 with actual future behavior measured at Time 2. The current research will employ a two-wave panel of adults from a large midwestern metropolitan area to compare tests of deterrence theory hypotheses for both of these measures of involvement in the offense of driving while under the influence of alcohol. Findings suggest that the substantive conclusions are similar regardless of the measure of the dependent variable employed: Informal threats of sanctions are more important predictors of involvement in drinking and driving behavior than are formal threats. Given the numerous problems facing longitudinal deterrence research (i.e., costs, sample attrition, and appropriate lag times), similar results from future panel studies might generate a renewed confidence in cross-sectional designs that employ future estimates of involvement in illegal behavior as proxies for actual future involvement in illegal behavior.
Article
In explaining crime, some criminological theories emphasize time-stable individual differences in propensity to offend while others emphasize more proximate and situational factors. Using scenario data from a sample of college undergraduates we have found evidence to support both positions. A measure of criminal propensity (poor self-control) was found to be significantly related to self-reported decisions to commit three offenses (drunk driving, theft, and sexual assault). Even after considering differences in self-control, there was evidence to suggest that the attractiveness of the crime target, the ease of committing the crime with minimum risk, and perceptions of the costs and benefits of committing the crime were all significantly related to offending decisions. Our results suggest that theories of criminal offending should include notions pertaining to persistent individual differences in criminal propensity and choice-relevant variables.
Article
This paper reports on the first longitudinal study to consider the relationship between perceptions of legal sanctions and self-reported criminality. The longitudinal design helps to address the problem of interpreting causal order that traditionally has troubled deterrence researchers using cross-sectional data. Self-reports of unlawful behavior (petty theft, marijuana use, payment using bad checks) over the past year are correlated both with perceptions of legal sanctions measured a year earlier (Time 1) and with perceptions of sanctions at the time of the self-reports (Time 2), for a random sample of 300 undergraduates at a large state university. The principal advantage of this method is that it affords a comparison of "deterrent" effects (perceived sanctions at Time 1 and subsequent reported behavior) with what are termed "experiential" effects (reported behavior and subsequent perceived sanctions at Time 2). The latter have been consistently treated as deterrent effects by prior researchers using cross-sectional data. For perceived certainty of arrest for generalized oth ers, the observed deterrent effect was weak and in every instance less than the experiential effect. However, perceived certainty of one's own arrest produced modest but consistent deterrent as well as experiential effects. A path analysis suggests that the deterrent effect of perceived certainty (personal or aggregate) is much weaker than once believed and the experiential effect is substantially stronger. The implications of these findings for an interactive model of de terrence are considered.
Article
The distinction between general and specific deterrence is widely recognized and accepted by deterrence researchers, and is used commonly to classify deterrence studies. However, the logical and empirical grounds for the distinction are not as clear as they might appear, and the conventional conception has done more to obfuscate than to clarify the deterrence process. Following a discussion of these issues, the authors propose a reconceptualization of general and specific deterrence, and apply it to several current controversies in the deterrence literature.
Article
Research designed to test deterrence/rational choice theory has contributed much to the knowledge of sanction threats, and the extent to which they are used in individuals' decision-making processes. The accumulation of knowledge about such perceptions among active and incarcerated offenders has surfaced only in recent years. We identified and interviewed active residential burglars to examine how they take into consideration the perceptions of risks and rewards before committing a burglary. Employing a series of estimation techniques which have not yet been used to study this research question, we find that offenders are influenced by the perceptions of both risk and rewards, though the latter are a stronger predictor of the decision to engage in a residential burglary. Theoretical implications and directions for future research are discussed.