Article

Minority Perceptions of the Police: A State-of-the-Art Review

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Abstract

Purpose – The purpose of this paper is to provide a comprehensive literature review of empirical studies that have examined perceptions and attitudes of the police across various racial and ethnic groups. The specific focus aimed to highlight if minorities perceive the police differently compared to their white counterparts. Design/methodology/approach – A systematic literature search of various academic databases (Criminal Justice Abstracts, EBSCO Host, Web of Science, etc.) was conducted. Searches on Google Scholar were also conducted to locate empirical articles that are presently forthcoming in academic journals. Findings – The meta-review identified 92 studies that matched the selection criteria. The majority of the studies focussed on black/white, non-white/white, and black/Hispanic/white comparisons. Overall, individuals who identified themselves as black, non-white, or minority were more likely to hold negative perceptions and attitudes toward the police compared to whites. This finding held regardless of the measures used to operationalize attitudes and various dependent variables surrounding the police. Hispanics tended to have more positive views of the police compared to blacks, yet more negative views than whites. Originality/value – The present study provided a systematic literature search of studies that were included in two prior reviews (i.e. Decker, 1985; Brown and Benedict, 2002), but also updated the literature based on research that was conducted after 2002. Different exclusion restrictions were also used in the current study compared to earlier research. These restrictions add to the originality/value of the present meta-review in light of current events in the media which have focussed on minority perceptions of the police.

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... 746). Thus, African Americans tend to have less positive views of the police than Whites (Decker 1985;Peck 2015;Tyler 2005;Weitzer and Tuch, 2006), but results are less consistent among other minority groups. Consequently, there have been calls to expand research on Latino perceptions of the police (Martinez 2007;Peterson and Krivo, 2005;Weitzer 2014) and immigrants' perceptions of the police (Wu 2010). ...
... In a survey conducted in California, White victims of sexual assault were twice as likely as Latinos to report crimes, and Whites and Asians were more likely than Latinos to report robberies (Rennison 2007). Jennifer Peck (2015) summarizes this work, "In certain studies, Hispanics tended to have more positive views of the police compared to Blacks, yet more negative attitudes than Whites" (p. 174; see also Vidales et al., 2009). ...
... Geographic location also matters, but most of the research on trust and perceptions of police focuses on one city. Comparative studies across cities (Peck 2015;Taylor et al., 2001;Thomas and Burns, 2005;Wu 2010) have examined the Black/White divide or include Hispanics. However, very few examine the same group (holding different legal and citizenship statuses) across cities. ...
Article
Full-text available
The immigration enforcement system today affects different subgroups of Latinos; it reaches beyond the undocumented to immigrants who hold legal statuses and even to the U.S.-born. States have enacted their own enforcement collaboration agreements with federal authorities and thus Latinos may have dissimilar experiences based on where they live. This article examines the effects of enforcement schemes on Latinos’ likelihood of reporting crimes to police and views of law enforcement. It includes documented and U.S-born Latinos to capture the spillover beyond the undocumented, and it is based on four metropolitan areas—Los Angeles, Houston, Phoenix, and Chicago—to comparatively assess the effects of various enforcement contexts. Empirically, it relies on data from a random sample survey of over 2000 Latinos conducted in 2012 in these four cities. Results show that spillover effects vary by context and legal/citizenship status: Latino immigrants with legal status are less inclined to report to the police as compared to U.S.-born Latinos in Houston, Los Angeles, and Phoenix but not in Chicago. At the other end, the spillover effect in Phoenix is so strong that it almost reaches to U.S.-born Latinos. The spillover effect identified is possible due to the close association between being Latino or Mexican and being undocumented, underscoring the racialization of legal status and of immigration enforcement today.
... Researchers have consistently found that race is a salient factor that shapes citizens' perceptions of and satisfaction with the police (Brown & Benedict, 2002;Jacob, 1971;Reisig & Parks, 2000;Weitzer & Tuch, 1999;Wu, 2014), asserting that people of color tend to hold more negative views of police in comparison with white citizens (Cochran & Warren, 2012;Brown & Benedict, 2002;Peck, 2015;Wu, 2014). Existing research has found that black citizens in particular are more likely to hold unfavorable views of police (Brunson & Weitzer, 2009;Brown & Benedict, 2002;Ekins, 2016;Peck, 2015). ...
... Researchers have consistently found that race is a salient factor that shapes citizens' perceptions of and satisfaction with the police (Brown & Benedict, 2002;Jacob, 1971;Reisig & Parks, 2000;Weitzer & Tuch, 1999;Wu, 2014), asserting that people of color tend to hold more negative views of police in comparison with white citizens (Cochran & Warren, 2012;Brown & Benedict, 2002;Peck, 2015;Wu, 2014). Existing research has found that black citizens in particular are more likely to hold unfavorable views of police (Brunson & Weitzer, 2009;Brown & Benedict, 2002;Ekins, 2016;Peck, 2015). Black citizens' unfavorable views may be attributed to the fact that they are more likely to report negative encounters with police (Brunson & Miller, 2006;Ekins, 2016;Fine et al., 2003;Gabbidon et al., 2011;Russell-Brown, 2004) such as being treated disrespectfully during an encounter with an officer (Weitzer & Tuch, 1999 and are more likely to report distress after having an encounter with a police officer (Bordua & Tifft, 1971). ...
... Such widespread and unfavorable perceptions of the police point clearly to the fact that far from viewing unacceptable police practices as merely cases of a few "rotten apples," our participants in general consider law enforcement and the culture of policing to be a "rotten barrel" (Griffin & Ruiz, 1999;Perry, 2001;Punch, 2003). These findings are consistent with research on the perceptions of the police by people of color, more generally (Barrick, 2014;Brown & Benedict, 2002;Brunson & Weitzer, 2009;Morin & Stepler, 2016;Peck, 2015). Narratives presented here demonstrate the different factors that influence how these young women perceive the police. ...
Article
In recent years, high profile cases involving the deadly use of force on men and boys of color have raised concerns about police interactions with people of color. In general, these highly publicized cases have consolidated the view that men of color are the primary targets. While this focus is important, it has led, nevertheless, to an overshadowing of women of color’s experiences with police violence and their perceptions of the police. In order to begin to fill this gap, this paper, using in-depth interviews with 49 women of color residing in the San Francisco Bay Area, explores their perceptions of the police and the factors that influence their views. Analysis of the narrative data revealed that women do not view the police positively and suggests that personal and vicarious experiences with the police through friends, family members and the media operated as influential factors that shaped their perceptions of police.
... The present study examines whether children's perceptions of police might change after working collaboratively with police officers on in-school servicelearning challenges. Uniquely, the students were sampled in multiple jurisdictions across the United States and are predominately Hispanic/Latinx or Black/African American, groups that have traditionally had more negative interactions with police and possess worse perceptions of police worse as compared with White individuals (Alberton & Gorey, 2018;Fine & Cauffman, 2015;Fine, Kan, & Cauffman, 2019;Hurst, Frank, & Lee Browning, 2000;Peck, 2015;Wu, Lake, & Cao, 2015). ...
... The use of multiple jurisdictions is crucial because social-contextual factors, such as the climate of police-community relations, are known to influence individuals' perceptions of police behavior (Braga, Winship, Tyler, Fagan, & Meares, 2014). Finally, considering the preponderance of the children are Black or Latinx, the sample constitutes a group that may otherwise develop negative perceptions of law enforcement because they may experience disproportionately more negative personal and vicarious contacts with law enforcement (Alberton & Gorey, 2018;Brunson, 2007;Fine & Cauffman, 2015;Peck, 2015;Weitzer & Tuch, 2004;Wu et al., 2015). Consequently, it is vital to understand how positive interactions with police officers may affect how these children's perceptions develop, particularly considering individuals' general views of the police may also impact how they interpret their subsequent experiences with law enforcement (Brandl, Frank, Worden, & Bynum, 1994). ...
... Specifically, individuals in such neighborhoods tend to experience a disproportionate amount of unjust policing tactics. Further, these results are consistent with the number of studies demonstrating individuals of color tend to have worse perceptions of law enforcement (Alberton & Gorey, 2018;Peck, 2015;Weitzer & Tuch, 2004;Wu et al., 2015). Other strengths of the present study include the robust analytic strategy. ...
Article
The way police officers interact with individuals fundamentally impacts the public’s perceptions of law enforcement. Such perceptions are, in turn, linked to a variety of key outcomes, including crime commission, crime reporting, and the willingness to be a witness. Considering that the way children perceive the police may set the tone for how they view and interact with law enforcement during adolescence and into adulthood, identifying whether children’s perceptions of the police can be changed is essential. The present study examined whether a positive youth development program that enables police officers to work collaboratively with children on community service projects might improve children’s perceptions of police. The results of analyses, which used pre- and postevaluation data on a sample of predominantly Hispanic/Latinx or Black/African American 5th and 6th graders located in 3 jurisdictions in the United States, suggested that enabling law enforcement officers to work collaboratively with children can improve children’s perceptions of police.
... One explanation for this phenomenon posits that policies that promote "crimmigration" (i.e., re-allocating criminal justice resources to immigration issues; Bersani et al., 2018;Macias-Rojas, 2016) may lead to racial profiling and to declining perceptions of law enforcement (Goff, Epstein, & Reddy, 2013;Messing et al., 2015). Nonetheless, whether Hispanic youth perceptions have shifted across recent years is unknown, largely because of a dearth of research on Hispanic populations (Peck, 2015;Weitzer, 2014). ...
... That is, research suggests that individuals who are treated unfairly or hear of others being treated unfairly tend to develop more negative perceptions of law enforcement (Cavanagh & Cauffman, 2015;Fagan & Tyler, 2005;Kirk & Papachristos, 2011;Piquero et al., 2005;Walters, 2019). Considering negative perceptions of law enforcement may also reflect practices that are racially/ethnically biased (Brunson & Gau, 2015), it is unsurprising that Black individuals report the most negative perceptions of law enforcement, followed by Hispanic individuals (Lasley, 1994;Peck, 2015;Weitzer & Tuch, 2006). At the same time, the public views law enforcement as being responsible for controlling crime and keeping them safe. ...
... First, consistent with recent Gallup (Jones, 2015) and Pew (Morin, 2016) polling data of adults, across virtually all years from 1976-2016, White youth held the most positive views of law enforcement and were least worried about crime, followed by Hispanic youth, then Black youth. These YOUTH, RACE, AND POLICE 15 findings are also consistent with empirical studies on racial/ethnic differences in perceptions of law enforcement (e.g., Lasley, 1994;Peck, 2015;Weitzer & Tuch, 2006) as well as of worry or fear about crime (May, Keith, Rader, & Dunaway, 2015). ...
Preprint
Recent unjust interactions between law enforcement and youth of color may have provoked a “crisis” in American law enforcement. Utilizing Monitoring the Future’s data on distinct, cross-sectional cohorts of 12th graders from each year spanning 1976-2016, we examined whether youth perceptions of law enforcement have changed. We also traced youth worry about crime considering declining perceptions of law enforcement may correspond with increasing worry about crime. Across decades, White youth consistently perceived law enforcement the most positively and worried least about crime, followed by Hispanic/Latinx then Black/African American youth. During the 1990s, among all youth, perceptions of law enforcement declined while worry about crime increased. However, recently, such trends were limited to White youth; among youth of color, perceptions of law enforcement declined while worry about crime remained largely stable. Problematically, youth perceptions of law enforcement recently reached a decades-long low and racial/ethnic gaps in perceptions appear to be growing.
... More recently, confrontations between police officers and civilians during mass public protests in Ferguson, Missouri and Baltimore, Maryland received extensive media coverage (Gately and Stolberg 2015;"Photo essay," 2014). The catalysts for these mass protests were the deaths of African-American men at the hands of police officers (Michael Brown in Ferguson and Freddie Gray in Baltimore) that reignited long-simmering tensions between police and communities of color (Cobbina 2019;Desmond et al. 2016;Holmes et al. 2019;Peck 2015;Peffley and Hurwitz 2010;Prowse et al. 2019;Rios 2011;Tyler 2006). ...
... Since the pictures each contain numerous elements, we cannot specify precisely which facet of the images may generate a framing effect on people's opinions about the police. Due to the complicated racial dynamics at the center of the policing debate (Peck 2015;Prowse et al. 2019), we ensured that the pictures represented racial diversity as much as possible. No picture contained solely white people, and only the community policing treatment picture was racially homogenous; both of the officers and the civilian in the picture were African-American. ...
... In fact, our results suggest that group identities may be even more important than personal experiences with the police, as political partisanship, political ideology, race/ethnicity, and age were the most consistent predictors of variation on attitudes toward the police in our regressions. Our findings mirror those of other scholars and suggest that Americans' attitudes about the police are politicized and divided across racial groups and generations (Fine et al. 2019;Gabbidon and Higgins 2009;Graziano and Gauthier 2019;Peck 2015;Silver and Pickett 2015). This is consistent with the "neo-Durkheimian" perspective that many people primarily look to and evaluate the police as symbols of social order, so attitudes toward the police will likely mirror broader cleavages across groups in society at the nexus of beliefs about norms, values, and justice (Jackson and Bradford 2009;Jackson and Sunshine 2007). ...
Article
PurposeTo test whether exposure to news images depicting law enforcement affects public attitudes toward the police.Method Participants drawn from a national online panel were randomly assigned to view one of three pictures that depicted a range of hostile to friendly police-civilian interactions (compared to a control group who saw no pictures). Dependent variables were perceptions of police officers’ effectiveness, misconduct, and bias. Moderating variables were respondents’ experiential, ideological, or demographic characteristics. As a follow-up to the results of the experiment, regression analyses were employed to explore other factors that may influence perceptions of police or interact with the media effects.ResultsImage exposure did not directly affect any dimension of attitudes toward the police, but there was one significant moderation effect. Respondents who had been recently stopped by an officer and saw a picture of a friendly interaction between officers and a civilian perceived more frequent police misconduct than respondents in the same experimental condition who were not recently stopped. Routine media consumption was significantly related to perceptions of police in the non-experimental analysis.Conclusions Findings indicate that brief exposure to static images of law enforcement disseminated by the media does not independently affect people’s opinions about the performance of police in society. Rather, people’s global opinions about the police are shaped by their own beliefs, prior experiences with officers, and cumulative, self-selected media consumption.
... Furthermore, research has found that African American males often expect LEOs will be influenced by the criminal stereotype of their racial/ethnic group (Brunson, 2007;Carr et al., 2007;Najdowski, Bottoms, & Goff, 2015), which can impact how they interact with LEOs and possibly how others perceive their interactions with LEOs. With an expectation of being treated harshly and unfairly, people with certain demographic backgrounds may be more likely to view LEOs as biased; for example males, youth, and racial/ethnic minorities (compared with their female, older, European American counterparts) (Hadar & Snortum, 1975;Peck, 2015). Moreover, of all racial/ ethnic groups examined in the critical review by Peck (2015), African Americans had the most negative attitudes toward LEOs. ...
... With an expectation of being treated harshly and unfairly, people with certain demographic backgrounds may be more likely to view LEOs as biased; for example males, youth, and racial/ethnic minorities (compared with their female, older, European American counterparts) (Hadar & Snortum, 1975;Peck, 2015). Moreover, of all racial/ ethnic groups examined in the critical review by Peck (2015), African Americans had the most negative attitudes toward LEOs. Instances of high profile police shootings that involve LEOs shooting unarmed African Americans are likely to exacerbate the bias against LEOs among racial/ethnic minorities, individuals who identify with the shooting victim, and those who are sympathetic to the victim and/or their family (Chermak et al., 2006;Desmond, Papachristos, & Kirk, 2016). ...
... Whereas gender failed to meaningfully predict any study outcomes, participants who identified as racial/ethnic minorities (predominantly as African American) were more likely to express confidence in their verdict and to recommend incarceration for the LEO. Stereotype threat would suggest African Americans might expect biased treatment by LEOs and are therefore likely to feel more anxiety during encounters with LEOs (Najdowski et al., 2015), which could contribute to more biased attitudes towards LEOs (Peck, 2015). Though it can be argued that some of the bias towards LEOs might be unwarranted, no one can deny the hardships that racial/ethnic minority communities have experienced at the hands of LEOs. ...
Article
African Americans/Black citizens in the United States are far more likely to be shot by law enforcement officers (LEOs) than European Americans/White citizens. A limited amount of research examines factors contributing to perceived consequences for police who shoot civilians, especially respondent political affiliation. The present study tested how different factors influenced perceived outcomes for LEOs who shoot youth using case vignettes in a diverse sample of 1044 participants. Vignettes included a shooting scenario that manipulated victim race/ethnicity, LEO race/ethnicity, and victim criminal history across vignettes. Results indicated a main effect of the presence or absence of criminal history on: perceived guilt of perpetrator, whether the perpetrator should be fired from their job, whether the perpetrator should be incarcerated, and whether the victim’s family should be monetarily compensated. There was also a robust main effect of political affiliation, such that conservative political affiliation was associated with more lenient views on all outcomes for the LEO. Additionally, several noteworthy interaction effects were observed. Overall, results suggest that, along with situational factors, political affiliation strongly influences the perceptions of guilt and other consequences for police officers who shoot civilians. Differential messaging is warranted to improve public perceptions of LEOs based on political affiliation.
... One explanation for this phenomenon posits that policies that promote "crimmigration" (i.e., re-allocating criminal justice resources to immigration issues; Bersani et al., 2018;Macias-Rojas, 2016) may lead to racial profiling and to declining perceptions of law enforcement (goff et al., 2013;Messing et al., 2015). Nonetheless, whether Hispanic youth perceptions have shifted across recent years is unknown, largely because of a dearth of research on Hispanic populations (Peck, 2015;Weitzer, 2014). ...
... That is, research suggests that individuals who are treated unfairly or hear of others being treated unfairly tend to develop more negative perceptions of law enforcement (Cavanagh & Cauffman, 2015;Fagan & Tyler, 2005;kirk & Papachristos, 2011;Piquero et al., 2005;Walters, 2019). Considering negative perceptions of law enforcement may also reflect practices that are racially/ethnically biased (Brunson & gau, 2015), it is unsurprising that Black individuals report the most negative perceptions of law enforcement, followed by Hispanic individuals (Lasley, 1994;Peck, 2015;Weitzer & Tuch, 2006). At the same time, the public views law enforcement as being responsible for controlling crime and keeping them safe. ...
... First, consistent with recent gallup (Jones, 2015) and Pew (Morin & Stepler, 2016) polling data of adults, across virtually all years from 1976 to 2016, White youth held the most positive views of law enforcement and were least worried about crime, followed by Hispanic youth, then Black youth. These findings are also consistent with empirical studies on racial/ ethnic differences in perceptions of law enforcement (e.g., Lasley, 1994;Peck, 2015;Weitzer & Tuch, 2006) as well as of worry or fear about crime (May et al., 2015). Perhaps more interestingly, the study contrasts two eras: the early 1990s and the most recent few years of the study. ...
Article
Recent unjust interactions between law enforcement and youth of color may have provoked a “crisis” in American law enforcement. Utilizing Monitoring the Future’s data on distinct, cross-sectional cohorts of 12th graders from each year spanning 1976–2016, we examined whether youth perceptions of law enforcement have changed. We also traced youth worry about crime considering declining perceptions of law enforcement may correspond with increasing worry about crime. Across decades, White youth consistently perceived law enforcement the most positively and worried least about crime, followed by Hispanic/Latinx then Black/African American youth. During the 1990s, among all youth, perceptions of law enforcement declined while worry about crime increased. However, recently, such trends were limited to White youth; among youth of color, perceptions of law enforcement declined while worry about crime remained largely stable. Problematically, youth perceptions of law enforcement recently reached a decades-long low and racial/ethnic gaps in perceptions appear to be growing.
... Researchers have consistently found that race is a salient factor that shapes citizens' perceptions of and satisfaction with the police (Brown & Benedict, 2002;Jacob, 1971;Reisig & Parks, 2000;Weitzer & Tuch, 1999;Wu, 2014), asserting that people of color tend to hold more negative views of police in comparison with white citizens (Cochran & Warren, 2012;Brown & Benedict, 2002;Peck, 2015;Wu, 2014). Existing research has found that black citizens in particular are more likely to hold unfavorable views of police (Brunson & Weitzer, 2009;Brown & Benedict, 2002;Ekins, 2016;Peck, 2015). ...
... Researchers have consistently found that race is a salient factor that shapes citizens' perceptions of and satisfaction with the police (Brown & Benedict, 2002;Jacob, 1971;Reisig & Parks, 2000;Weitzer & Tuch, 1999;Wu, 2014), asserting that people of color tend to hold more negative views of police in comparison with white citizens (Cochran & Warren, 2012;Brown & Benedict, 2002;Peck, 2015;Wu, 2014). Existing research has found that black citizens in particular are more likely to hold unfavorable views of police (Brunson & Weitzer, 2009;Brown & Benedict, 2002;Ekins, 2016;Peck, 2015). Black citizens' unfavorable views may be attributed to the fact that they are more likely to report negative encounters with police (Brunson & Miller, 2006;Ekins, 2016;Fine et al., 2003;Gabbidon et al., 2011;Russell-Brown, 2004) such as being treated disrespectfully during an encounter with an officer (Weitzer & Tuch, 1999 and are more likely to report distress after having an encounter with a police officer (Bordua & Tifft, 1971). ...
... Such widespread and unfavorable perceptions of the police point clearly to the fact that far from viewing unacceptable police practices as merely cases of a few "rotten apples," our participants in general consider law enforcement and the culture of policing to be a "rotten barrel" (Griffin & Ruiz, 1999;Perry, 2001;Punch, 2003). These findings are consistent with research on the perceptions of the police by people of color, more generally (Barrick, 2014;Brown & Benedict, 2002;Brunson & Weitzer, 2009;Morin & Stepler, 2016;Peck, 2015). Narratives presented here demonstrate the different factors that influence how these young women perceive the police. ...
Article
We investigated associations between experiences with police discrimination, police mistrust, and substance use in a convenience sample of 237 sexual and gender minority (SGM) adults in California. In a cross‐sectional survey, collected between January 2016 and July 2017, participants reported substance use, lifetime experiences with SGM‐related police discrimination, police mistrust, demographics, and SGM visibility. In adjusted logistic regression models, we found a positive association between lifetime police discrimination and past 2‐week heavy episodic drinking. Police mistrust also was positively associated with past month marijuana use. Several significant interactions between lifetime police discrimination or police mistrust with other socially stigmatized identities including being African American, insecure housing, and being a gender minority on a few substance use outcomes suggest that effects of police discrimination and mistrust on substance use are stronger among participants with multiple stigmatized identities. Results suggest the importance of policies and interventions that focus on eliminating police discrimination and increasing police legitimacy to reduce risk of substance use among SGM individuals.
... Scholars have invested significant effort in unpacking police-citizen relations, using qualitative research to develop the complex stories of Black citizens' experiences with the police (e.g., Brunson, 2007;Brunson & Weitzer, 2009;Gau & Brunson, 2010) and survey research to tap into the various constructs that appear to be the building blocks of Black citizens' opinions of the police (e.g., Ekins, 2016;La Vigne, Fontaine, & Dwidevi, 2017;Weitzer, 2000;Weitzer & Tuch, 2002, 2005. Collectively, this literature highlights the overall negative experiences of Black citizens in their encounters with the police, as well as general feelings of dissatisfaction and distrust among this population (Peck, 2015). ...
... Still, the concentration on conflict-including the negative experiences and emotions that arise between the police and Black citizens-appears to have had the unanticipated consequence of diverting attention from a key aspect of officer-citizen relationships: the prevalence of informal interpersonal relations between Black citizens and the police. Indeed, the extant literature focuses primarily on African Americans more formal, negative encounters with the police as opposed to their potential positive, informal associations (Peck, 2015). ...
Article
Given the complicated historical and contemporary relationship between law enforcement and African Americans, academic and popular commentary have focused intently on the existence of conflict between the police and the Black citizenry in the United States. The current project, however, seeks to broaden understanding in this area by exploring the extent to which African Americans know the police in positive, informal ways. Based on a 2017 national-level survey of 1,000 African Americans, this project explores the extent of survey participants’ association with police officers as well as potential predictors of those relationships. Specifically, binary logistic regression is used to analyze the relationship between the survey respondents’ social bonds, demographic characteristics, and their relationships with police officers. The analyses reveal that respondents’ ties to the police were common, with nearly one in four having a police officer as a family member and a majority having some relationship with officers. Those with stakes in conformity were more likely to have bonds to officers, although racial homophily likely also accounts for knowing police officers. Importantly, this project demonstrates the complexity of African Americans’ relationships with the police and identifies further lines of inquiry that might profitably be explored.
... Of significance, Torres et al. (2018) found a segment of patrol officers being apprehensive about stopping minorities. Where racial minorities historically (Peck, 2015) and currently view the police with more skepticism than Whites (Morin et al., 2017) we know relatively little about law enforcement admission of being apprehensive toward stopping minorities. A need to understand apprehensiveness about stopping minorities comes alongside acknowledgment of racial disparities in various police outcomes including stops (Briggs & Crew, 2013;Briggs & Keimig, 2017;Epp, Maynard-Moody, & Haider-Markel, 2014;Gelman, Fagan, & Kiss, 2007;Kochel, Wilson, & Mastrofski, 2011;Morrow & Shjarback, 2019;Smith, Rojek, Petrocelli, & Withrow, 2017;Tillyer, 2014). ...
... We find that being cynical toward the public and not feeling safe is predictive of being apprehensive about stopping minorities. Alleviating cynicism should be approached cautiously given some evidence that race has been tied to cynicism (Hickman, 2008;Osborne, 2014;Torres et al., 2018) and the historical and contemporary context shaping police-minority relations (Peck, 2015). Of promise is that work has suggested that community policing may alleviate cynicism (Gau & Paoline, 2017;Torres et al., 2018). ...
Article
Full-text available
This pilot study examines police patrol activity, specifically engagement in under-policing, and investigatory-apprehensiveness toward minorities across White and nonwhite patrol officers in the context of policing post-Ferguson. Using a sample of unranked, patrol-duty officers in the United States (n = 887) from an online survey a series of multivariate binary logistic models suggest that although departmental and officer level variables can predict the likelihood of practicing under-policing and being apprehensive toward stopping minorities, various contextual post-Ferguson variables beyond de-policing also matter. Further, predictors of under-policing and apprehensiveness toward stopping minorities are different across White and nonwhite patrol officers. Results suggest the post-Ferguson period appears to have made an impression on patrol officers’ behaviors.
... In response to numerous controversial incidents involving law enforcement and civilians in cities across the United States, law enforcement has become increasingly scrutinized by policy makers, the media, and community stakeholders (Mac Donald, 2016;Moule Jr, Fox, & Parry, 2018;Rivera & Ward, 2017;Weitzer, 2015;Wolfe & Nix, 2016). Given these recent events and the historically contentious relationship between law enforcement and both Black/African American (henceforth Black) and Hispanic/Latinx (henceforth Latinx) communities, it is no surprise that Black and Latinx individuals tend to perceive law enforcement more negatively than do White individuals (see Peck, 2015;Weitzer & Tuch, 2006). Critically, the race gap in perceptions of law enforcement appears to be widening (Gallup, 2017), such that while Black and Latinx individuals' perceptions of law enforcement have decreased in recent years, White individuals' perceptions have improved. ...
... That is, consistent with Unnever and Gabbidon's theorizing (Unnever & Gabbidon, 2011;Unnever & Gabbidon, 2015), although political orientation is an important part of individuals' social identities, in the context of law enforcement in modern America, being Black is likely more consequential than political orientation for affecting how one views law enforcement. Similarly, considering Latinx youth face more intense criminalization and policing than Whites (Hagan et al., 2005;Sickmund, Sladky, Kang, & Puzzanchera, 2015), often report justice perceptions somewhere between White and Black individuals (see Fine & Cauffman, 2015;Peck, 2015;Weitzer & Tuch, 2006), yet exhibit more diversity in political preference (Pew Research Center, 2018), we hypothesize that the effect of political orientation on perceptions of law enforcement will be somewhat smaller for Latinx youth than for White youth. ...
Preprint
Full-text available
Purpose: Controversial encounters between racial minorities and law enforcement have led to increased public discourse surrounding race and law enforcement in the United States. A "racial gap" in perceptions of law enforcement exists and appears to be growing. Researchers have not adequately examined how political preference may contribute to diverging views of law enforcement. Method: Using data drawn from the Monitoring the Future study, the current study examines how race and political preference might jointly influence the way youth (12th graders) viewed law enforcement from 2005 to 2016. Results: In all years, White Democrats reported worse perceptions of law enforcement than did White Republicans , yet the gap in perceptions has been growing in recent years. In contrast, Democratic and Republican Latinx youth reported similar perceptions of law enforcement until 2012, at which point Democratic Latinx youth began reporting worse perceptions than Republican Latinx youth. Finally, there were no discernable differences in Black youths' perceptions of law enforcement by political party across the years. Conclusions: These findings suggest that while there is a racial gradient in how young adults perceive law enforcement , political orientation contributes to heterogeneity in youths' perceptions of law enforcement.
... Second, are there differences by race? Consistent with prior work showing that racial/ethnic minorities are disproportionately affected by negative policing and justice system practices (see Peck, 2015;Fine & Cauffman, 2015;Weitzer & Tuch, 2006), we expect Black and Latino youth will perceive legal authorities more negatively than White youth. Further, given racial/ethnic disparities in school punishment (Banks & Banks, 1993;Bennett & Harris, 1982;Mizel et al., 2016;Rios, 2017) that verge on "criminalizing" misbehavior in ways that parallel law enforcement and the justice system practices (see Kupchik, 2010;Welch & Payne, 2018;Rios, 2017), we expect that for youth of color, perceptions of schools will load onto their perceptions of legal authorities. ...
... Fifth, whereas the overall factor structure did not vary by race, the results suggest that adolescents' confidence in various institutions do vary by race. Consistent with prior research (e.g., Fine & Cauffman, 2015;Peck, 2015;Solomon, 1992;Weitzer & Tuch, 2006), the results indicated that Black youth reported the lowest confidence in legal institutions, followed by Latino youth, and finally White youth. Uniquely, this study also examined whether such racial differences also exist in youths' level of confidence in social authorities. ...
Article
Full-text available
It is widely believed that there is a crisis of confidence in law enforcement in the United States. What remains to be seen, however, is whether adolescents actually differentiate between legal authorities and other types of authorities. Leveraging cross-sectional, nationally representative data of 12th graders from every year from 2006 to 2017 from Monitoring the Future (N = 10,941), the results indicate that adolescents distinguish between legal authorities (e.g., law enforcement, justice system) and social authorities (e.g., schools, religious institutions). Youth report more confidence in social authorities than in legal authorities. Furthermore, whereas confidence in social authorities remained largely stable between the cohorts over the last decade, confidence in legal authorities, and in law enforcement in particular, has declined markedly. Although there may be an era of mistrust in legal authorities, it cannot be attributed to a ubiquitous anti-authority attitude among modern adolescents in the United States. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).
... Thus, they reveal the distinct overt attitudes that civilians have toward police officers. In addition to examining the overarching structure of civilian attitudes toward police officers (e.g., Brandl et al. 1994;Ekins 2016;Gau 2014;Sims et al. 2002), researchers have shed light on how evaluations of police are related to individual differences including race, age, neighborhood, and prior contact with police (e.g., Bates et al. 2015;Bridenball and Jesilow 2008;Cheurprakobkit 2006;Davis and Hendricks 2007;Lai and Zhao 2010;Payne and Gainey 2007;Rosenbaum et al. 2005; for reviews, see Alberton and Gorey 2018;Brown and Benedict 2002;Peck 2015). ...
... This is an encouraging finding for police and supports some of the current research suggesting civilians have positive explicit attitudes toward police (Ekins 2016;Huang and Vaughn 1996;Norman 2017). Even if explicit attitudes toward police are trending toward a negative valence among some populations of individuals (Alberton and Gorey 2018;Brown and Benedict 2002;Peck 2015), implicit attitudes in some ways have remained positive. ...
Article
This research investigated civilian implicit attitudes toward police. Previous research has solely used explicit measures (or examined police officers’ implicit reactions to civilians). Two studies assessed the implicit activation of safety and fear when participants were primed with police using a Word Fragment Completion Task (e.g., Johnson and Lord 2010). In a college sample, police primes led to increased safety and decreased fear construct activation, whereas in an online sample, both safety and fear became more accessible. Overall, results indicated that a wide range of individual differences in implicit attitudes toward police exist, that implicit reactions to police officers might be distinct from explicit global evaluations, and that, despite the existence of negative police-civilian interactions, the appearance of police officers might still tend to activate safety-related thoughts. The findings prompt the need to further assess the underlying cognitive components of civilian attitudes toward police officers.
... The vast majority of research on race and public perceptions of the police focus on the citizen's race with little mention of officer demographics. Research consistently finds that people who identify themselves as non-White are more likely to embrace negative perceptions of the police across a range of outcomes, such as experiences with law enforcement or police performance (Johnson & Kuhns, 2009;Peck, 2015). ...
... Further, as Peck's (2015) analysis of 92 studies examining minority perceptions of the police revealed, these negative perceptions of the police by those identifying themselves as Black, non-White, or minority "held regardless of the measures used to operationalize attitude and various dependent variables surrounding the police" (p. 173). ...
Article
https://ccjls.scholasticahq.com/article/11130-cultivating-police-use-of-force-perceptions-through-cinema-maintaining-the-racial-divide
... The first study directly tests whether developmental trends in perceptions of police legitimacy vary as a function of race. Scholars have argued that considering excessive policing practices often affect communities of color (see Parker et al., 2005;Smith & Holmes, 2014;Terrill & Mastrofski, 2002;Trinkner & Goff, 2016), it is perhaps unsurprising that youth of color tend to perceive police more negatively than do White individuals (see Peck, 2015;Fine & Cauffman, 2015;Fine, Rowan, & Simmons, 2019;Unnever & Gabbidon, 2015;Weitzer & Tuch, 1999). Based on prior literature, it is expected that as compared to other youth, and White youth in particular, Black youth will report worse perceptions of police legitimacy. ...
Article
Full-text available
Objective Examine youths’ perceptions of police legitimacy. Study one establishes age-graded trends in perceptions from childhood into adolescence. Study two tests whether a structured, in-school, non-enforcement-related program involving repeated prosocial exposure to police can improve youths’ perceptions of police legitimacy.Methods In study one, a cross-sectional sample (N = 959) of youth ages 7 to 14 was used to assess age-graded perceptions of police legitimacy. In study two, a 4-school, randomized controlled trial was conducted in Compton, California (N = 499).ResultsAge-graded differences in police legitimacy perceptions vary by race, but generally begin declining during late childhood. The program significantly improved youths’ perceptions of police legitimacy.Conclusion Racial differences in perceptions of police legitimacy can be traced to childhood, and perceptions of law enforcement appear to begin declining during childhood. Further, repeated exposure to law enforcement officials in a positive, non-enforcement capacity may improve youths’ legitimacy perceptions.
... It has been well-established that individual-level characteristics, such as age, race, and involvement in delinquent activities substantially impact perceptions of the police and legal attitudes more broadly. In general, individuals who identify as racial minorities tend to hold more negative views of police compared to their White counterparts (Peck, 2015) and experience higher levels of legal cynicism (Kirk & Papachristos, 2011;Sampson & Bartusch, 1998), findings that extend across age (Brunson & Weitzer, 2009;Leiber et al., 1998). Overall, youth attitudes toward the police are more negative than those of adults Leiber et al., 1998;Taylor et al., 2001), and involvement in delinquency is a strong predictor of legal cynicism (Nivette et al., 2015;Trinkner & Cohn, 2014). ...
Article
Adolescents experience more police‐initiated contacts resulting from relatively minor infractions than any other group, and often these interactions do not result in notable legal consequences. However, such interactions may have long‐term consequences for adolescent perceptions of the justice system. Using data from the age 15 wave of the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, our study examines associations between situational and process features of police contact and legal cynicism in adolescence, accounting for demographic characteristics, self‐reported delinquency, neighborhood context, and stop outcome. Relative to youth who experienced only vicarious police contact, youth who had direct or both direct and vicarious police contact reported higher levels of legal cynicism. Youth perceptions of procedural justice were associated with lower legal cynicism. Situational features of police contact such as harsh language and frisking were related to higher legal cynicism. Directions for future research, including the need for longitudinal research on this topic, are discussed.
... As such, perceptions of police are reflective of this power differential among individuals lower in social status. For example, minorities are more likely to hold negative perceptions and attitudes toward the police compared to whites, which leads to non-reporting (Peck, 2015;Sigler & Johnson, 2002). Victims who are, or feel they are, less powerful or credible will be less confident in the decision to make a formal complaint. ...
Thesis
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The majority of research on victim decision making has focused narrowly on reporting to police neglecting other ways in which victims seek help after a victimization experience. Similarly, this research also focuses on only one crime at a time, typically sexual assault, or focuses broadly on categories of violent crime. This dissertation aims to explore variations in victim help-seeking by examining and comparing various combinations of formal disclosure. Moreover, this study compares two distinctly different yet comparable interpersonal violent crimes: sexual assault and robbery. In so doing, this study employs the Theory of the Behavior of Law to examine whether social structure predicts the decision to formally disclose across these two crimes. Using National Crime Victimization Survey data from 1996-2015 (n=3,095), logistic regression is employed to explore formal disclosure, police reporting, and exclusive victim agency usage among female sexual assault and robbery victimizations. The results found little theoretical support; however, results consistently indicated that crime type was strongly related to all strategies of disclosure. These findings suggest that the Theory of the Behavior of Law does not explain victim decision making. Theoretical and practical implications as well as avenues for future research are discussed.
... Communities with larger Black populations tend to have more negative perceptions of police (Peck, 2015), thus creating more tension during interactions. However, while the social disorganization literature stresses the influence of poverty, findings from this analysis indicate that poverty levels are not associated with more restrictive policing tactics. ...
Thesis
Several policing strategies have been used to manage protest crowds over the past 50 years. Research suggests that escalated force and command and control strategies were utilized until the 1990’s (Bourne, 2011; Schweingruber, 2000), while negotiated management has as emerged as a prominent protest management strategy within recent decades (Gillham, 2011; Gillham & Noakes, 2006).While literature describes the general evolution of protest strategies over time, there has been no systematic documentation of police approaches to crowd management. This study examines police policies governing protest management to identify current U.S. police practices. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) provides model policies to help police agencies become familiar with best practices and develop their own policies. The IACP’s model policy on crowd management and control was used to identify tactics that represent best practice standards for protest management in the United States. Through a content analysis of policies from a sample of U.S. police agencies, this study assesses agency compliance with the IACP model policy on crowd management and control, as well as alignment with existing protest management strategies. Findings inform our understanding of current police protest management practices and offer policy implications. First, this study shows that there is a great deal of variation among protest management policies used within the sample agencies. Second, sample agency policies tend to adopt best practice escalated force tactics more often than command and control or negotiated management practices. Finally, three specific themes related to community-oriented policing, strict enforcement and use of force, and regional differences emerge from bivariate and multivariate analyses. These themes offer direction for future theory development and protest management research.
... As an example, many GC projects have focused on interactions between people of color and law enforcement. This is a racially-charged issue with many communities of color in the U.S. experiencing disproportionate negative consequences of interactions with law enforcement and heightened negative perceptions of law enforcement (Peck, 2015). Through GC, one class of students in Oklahoma chose to address limited communication between law enforcement and residents as their action project. ...
... Finally, historically, the literature on citizens' perceptions of the police differentiates how distinct racial and ethnic groups view the police in the United States. From this latter body of research, two general themes emerge: (a) Blacks have negative perceptions of the police compared with Whites and (b) there is mixed evidence as to how Hispanics view police officers (Peck, 2015). In a 2017 Pew survey, it was found that Blacks and Hispanics were less likely than Whites to view police officers warmly. ...
Article
Full-text available
Recent incidents between police and people of color have further strained police–community relationships. Scholars, practitioners, activists, policy makers, and several police departments have advocated for the implementation of body-worn cameras (BWC), a technological adoption promoted to address growing mistrust in the United States. This article examines perception of this technological adoption through 40 in-depth interviews in Washington, D.C. Furthermore, this article uses the context of police BWC to explore how the integration of technological advancements impacts the relationships between communities and local governments—namely police departments. The evidence suggests that residents believe BWC should improve officer behavior and increase police legitimacy, but cameras will not increase trust between police and the community. Based on the findings, this research identifies the limitations of BWC technology and assesses potential collaborative strategies available for police organizations related to the adoption and use of BWC.
... Relative to all citizens in the United States, minority groups have been found to view law enforcement (Cao and Yuning 2019;Peck 2015;Van Craen 2013), and the criminal justice system in general (Bobo and Thompson 2006;Hurwitz and Peffley 2005;Schuck, Rosenbaum, and Hawkins 2008) less favorably. To the extent that many decisions with economic and social mobility consequences are trust-sensitive, low trust in law enforcement and the criminal justice system among minorities could constrain their pathways to higher economic and social mobility. ...
Article
In fragile communities where a high proportion of residents have limited opportunities for economic and social mobility, self-employment and entrepreneurship are possible pathways to economic and social mobility. If, for example, individuals perceive policing and offender sentencing as racially discriminatory and/or untrustworthy, criminal justice in fragile communities could potentially be a barrier to an individual’s decision to start a business, as such a decision can be sensitive to whether the legal system will protect individual property rights. This paper considers how, in fragile communities, individual fairness assessments and perceptions of the criminal justice system condition nascent entrepreneurship abandonment—individuals who considered starting a business but did not. With data from the Center for Advancing Opportunity Fragile Community Survey on over 5,000 individuals in the United States, we estimate latent variable specifications of abandoned individual aspirations to start a business as a function of several measures of their fairness assessment/perception of the criminal justice system. Parameter estimates reveal that the likelihood of abandoned nascent entrepreneurship increases with respect to increases in an individual’s assessment/perception that the criminal justice system is unfair in their community. Our results suggest that the criminal justice system is a barrier to entrepreneurship for residents of fragile communities, and that criminal justice reforms that promote fairness in policing and the courts could enhance economic and social mobility in fragile communities by increasing the likelihood of individuals starting businesses.
... Studies examining the relationship between race and trust have argued that minority citizens have less trust in the police than their white counterparts (Callanan & Rosenberger, 2011;Engel, 2005;Garofolo, 1977;Hindelang, 1974;Huang & Vaughn, 1996;Schuck, 2013;Schuman, Steeh, Bobo, & Krysan, 1997;Van Craen, 2013;Wu, 2014). Peck (2015) conducted a meta-analysis of articles pertaining to minorities and their perceptions of the police. According to the systematic analysis, the researcher found that a majority of the studies found that minorities were more likely to hold negative attitudes and perception of the police compared to white citizens. ...
Article
Residential in/stability has been observed to influence several behavioral outcomes such as mental health, child abuse, adolescent substance uses and crime/delinquency. Despite its record of predicting behavior, residential stability has barely been explored to explain citizens’ behavior and attitudes toward their local police departments. This lack deeply affects the extent to which we can formulate policies to strengthen police and community relationship. The purpose of the present study was to explore the predictive effects of three dimensions of residential stability on residents’ perception of police trustworthiness after accounting for the effects of individual, attitudinal, and contact variables. Using community survey data collected from several areas of Northwestern states, results from the analysis found statistically significant effects for years in the community, residence, level of education, political ideology, quality and frequency of contact on residents’ assessments of police trustworthy. The implications of these results are discussed.
... Many scholarly analyses of survey data consistently illustrate the chasm between how white majority and ethnic minority citizens view their criminal justice systems. Peck (2015) provides a helpful and exhaustive assessment of the current state of research on minority perceptions of the police. Status as a racial minority is consistently significant as a predictor of trust in police. ...
Article
Full-text available
Survey research has clarified the extent to which racial minorities and majority white Americans disagree about whether police should be trusted. Racial minorities are generally far more suspicious of the police officers who serve their communities. Other forms of evidence would appear to corroborate the views of minority citizens in the USA. This requires scholars and others interested in policing to think about reforms that may create a fairer system of law enforcement.
... Although the anecdotal evidence for lower rates of crime reporting in immigrant communities is persuasive, systematic scientific evidence is difficult to locate. Scholars have considered immigrants' perceptions of crime and of police authorities (see reviews by Menjívar & Bejarano, 2004;Peck, 2015), but there have been very few direct assessments of whether residents of immigrant neighborhoods do, as the anecdotal evidence indicates, exhibit reluctance to seek police assistance when they are victimized. In a handful of studies that have been aimed at doing so, researchers have relied on data from a narrow range of cities (such as New York City and Chicago) using observations from a small sample of neighborhoods (e.g., Davis & Henderson, 2003). ...
Article
The content sharing link for this article is https://rdcu.be/bo7VI ---------Using data from the Area-Identified National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS), we provide a national assessment of the impact of neighborhood immigrant concentration on whether violence is reported to the police. By drawing on multiple theoretical perspectives, we outline how the level of violence reporting could be higher or lower in immigrant neighborhoods, as well as how this may depend on individual race/ethnicity and the history of immigration in the county in which immigrant neighborhoods are located. Controlling for both individual and neighborhood-level conditions, our findings indicate that within traditional immigrant counties, rates of violence reporting in immigrant neighborhoods are similar to those observed elsewhere. In contrast, within newer immigrant destinations, we observe much lower rates of violence reporting in neighborhoods with a large concentration of immigrants. Our study findings reveal comparable patterns for Whites, Blacks, and Latinos. The results have important implications for theory, policy, and future research.
... Minority officers are also viewed by some within their own communities as being part of "them" rather than "us" and that cops are "essentially blue" where occupation outweighs racial identity (see e.g., Brunson & Weitzer, 2009;Weitzer, 2000, p. 322). 1 In this way, officers may be enforcing laws and policies that have historically been over-imposed on the minority communities, which serves to undermine the legitimacy and favorable view of police (see Brunson, 2007). As a result, citizen perceptions of officers may also vary according to the officer's race, and this view may also affect police-citizen encounters in non-constructive ways (see Peck, 2015;Weitzer, 2002). By focusing on the role emotions play in the stress/behavior relationship, the current study reveals important information about how certain behaviors manifest among police officers. ...
Article
A large body of research demonstrates the toll stress takes on police. However, with recent high-profile force incidents that have fueled distrust of police especially within minority communities, there is reason to expect that minority officers experience stress differently than their white counterparts. Within the context of Agnew’s (1992) General Strain Theory, this study examines the relationship between police stress and misconduct. As well, since a police stress/anger relationship has been found, we also analyze racial differences in the extent to which negative affect (anger) mediates the stress/outcome relationship. Using data from a survey of over 1,400 police officers working in three large cities in Texas, we find that stress is significantly related to officers’ acts of misconduct within both races. Moreover, there are noticeable differences in the role anger plays in the stress/misconduct relationship among white and minority officers.
... Studies examining the relationship between race and trust have argued that minority citizens have less trust in the police than their white counterparts (Callanan & Rosenberger, 2011;Engel, 2005;Garofolo, 1977;Hindelang, 1974;Huang & Vaughn, 1996;Schuck, 2013;Schuman, Steeh, Bobo, & Krysan, 1997;Van Craen, 2013;Wu, 2014). Peck (2015) conducted a meta-analysis of articles pertaining to minorities and their perceptions of the police. According to the systematic analysis, the researcher found that a majority of the studies found that minorities were more likely to hold negative attitudes and perception of the police compared to white citizens. ...
Article
Residential in/stability has been observed to influence several behavioral outcomes such as mental health, child abuse, adolescent substance uses and crime/delinquency. Despite its record of predicting behavior, residential stability has barely been explored to explain citizens’ behavior and attitudes toward their local police departments. This lack deeply affects the extent to which we can formulate policies to strengthen police and community relationship. The purpose of the present study was to explore the predictive effects of three dimensions of residential stability on residents’ perception of police trustworthiness after accounting for the effects of individual, attitudinal, and contact variables. Using community survey data collected from several areas of Northwestern states, results from the analysis found statistically significant effects for years in the community, residence, level of education, political ideology, quality and frequency of contact on residents’ assessments of police trustworthy. The implications of these results are discussed.
... Nevertheless, research has shown that individuals who fear they may be arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia or illegal substances may be reluctant to contact law enforcement in the event they witness someone overdosing (Seal et al., 2003;Tobin, Davey & Latkin, 2005). Research has shown that minority groups are more likely to have negative perceptions and attitudes towards the police (Peck, 2015) and are less likely to believe they are treated fairly (Barboza, 2012). ...
... Lastly, historically, the literature on citizens' perceptions of the police differentiates how distinct racial and ethnic groups view the police in the United States. From this latter body of research, two general themes emerge: (1) Blacks have negative perceptions of the police compared to Whites and (2) there is mixed evidence as to how Hispanics view police officers (Peck 2015). In a recent Pew (2017) survey, it was found that Blacks and Hispanics were less likely than Whites to view police officers warmly. ...
Preprint
Recently, incidents between police and people of color have further strained police-community relationships. Scholars, practitioners, activists, policy makers, and several police departments have advocated for the implementation of body-worn cameras (BWC), a technological adoption promoted to address the growing tensions in the United States. This article examines citizens' perception of this technological adoption through 40 in-depth interviews in Washington, DC. Furthermore, this article uses the context of police BWC to explore how the integration of technological advancements impacts the relationships between communities and local governments-namely police departments. The evidence suggests that residents believe BWC should improve officer behavior and increase police legitimacy, but cameras will not increase trust between police and the community. Based on the findings, this research identifies the limitations of BWC technology and assesses potential collaborative strategies available for police organizations related to the adoption and use of BWC.
... This is necessary considering there continues to be stark racial and ethnic differences in justice system and police contact (see Elliott & Reid, 2019;Stevens & Morash, 2015). The overwhelming majority of research suggests that youth of colour, particularly Black/African American youth, report more negative perceptions of the law, justice system, and law enforcement than do White youth (see Fine, Rowan, & Simmons, 2019;Peck, 2015). However, there has been little focus on applying a legal socialization lens to those experiences that are especially pronounced among certain communities. ...
Chapter
Full-text available
In its most general sense, legal socialization refers to the process through which individuals develop values, attitudes, and beliefs about laws, the institutions that create law, and the people that enforce law (Finckenauer, 1998; Trinkner & Cohn, 2014). While seminal works in the field (e.g., Cohn & White, 1990; Tapp & Levine, 1974) referred to it as the development of values and attitudes pertaining to law, the field of legal socialization has expanded in recent years to also include the processes by which people develop their understanding of the law and legal actors within society, particularly their relationship with such legal forces (Tyler & Trinkner, 2018). Today, particular emphasis is paid to law enforcement. While legal socialization may occur both formally and informally, the process appears to be both individualized and developmental in nature, resulting from the complex interplay between an individual’s cognitive and emotional maturity, as well as the influence of personal and vicarious experiences. Critically, legal socialization plays a fundamental role in understanding legal behavior, including both compliance and cooperation with the law and legal authority (Trinkner & Tyler, 2016). We provide an overview of the legal socialization field focused on: (1) its underlying fundamental assumptions, (2) the core components of the legal socialization process, (3) the dominant theoretical approaches within the field, and (4) underexplored areas that represent the cutting edge of legal socialization thinking and scholarship.
... This especially refers to the consideration of variables regarding personal particulars, such as age, race, previous encounters with the police, and contact with those living in the neighbourhood that may influence citizens' perceptions of whether behaviour of the police in certain situations is discriminatory or not (Brown & Benedict, 2002). Peck (2015) provides the most comprehensive literature review published to date, which consists of 92 empirical research studies on the perceptions of minorities regarding law enforcement. There is also a considerable number of studies dedicated to police perceptions of community policing issues ( . ...
Article
Full-text available
One of the key requirements of a democratic society is the absence of police discrimination. Discriminatory treatment by the police is a challenge in many societies, and every society that wishes to be truly democratic, should aim to keep police discrimination to an absolute minimum and continuously work on its elimination. One step toward this is studying the perceptions and understanding that police have toward discrimination to enable the most effective preventive measures to any discriminatory behaviour they may exhibit. This paper presents the results of a study conducted on the attitudes of police officers toward discrimination in the Republic of Serbia. This research focused on the recognition of the meaning of discrimination and awareness of the presence of discrimination in Serbian society by police officers, the level of police social and ethnic distance toward different groups, police perceptions as to the influence and responsibility that public and social institutions can have in provoking discrimination, as well as the existence and acceptance of prejudice among police officers in Serbia.
Article
Despite the fact that LGBTQ individuals are at greater risk of victimization than the average citizen, the LGBTQ community’s relationship with law enforcement has been a turbulent one. Using a mixed-methods approach, including surveys, semi-structured interviews and observations of town hall meetings, and following the participatory action research framework, this study examines the interactions between the LGBTQ community and law enforcement, and the perceptions of police within the LGBTQ community. The current study demonstrates how members of the LGBTQ community continue to have negative experiences with police that adversely impact their perceptions of law enforcement. Moreover, the findings underline the importance of examining how multiple identities impact an individual’s experiences with and their perceptions of law enforcement. Expanding past research on this topic, this study offers an analysis based upon suggestions of the study’s participants of what steps must be taken in order to improve relations between these two groups.
Article
Procedural justice theorists contend that individuals who see police acting in a procedurally fair manner will more frequently comply with police commands and obey the law. While studies report positive correlations between perception of fairness and compliance with police commands, there is a dearth of research about whether procedural or distributive justice processes can influence subsequent compliance with the law. This research tests whether a person’s social status influences their perceptions of procedural and distributive justice among a sample of men arrested for suspected assault of their intimate partner. This research also tests whether these suspects’ perceptions of the procedural and distributive justice properties of their police encounter influence their long-term compliance with the law. The analyses indicate that there are few differences in perceptions of procedural and distributive justice across social statuses. However, the analysis does show that a more respectful police interaction positively influences subsequent compliance.
Article
PurposeOne underrepresented area of research within the developmental and life course framework is how criminal careers vary across racial and ethnic lines. Similarly, little is known about how the processes surrounding leaving a youth gang differ based on the experiences of racial and ethnic minorities. This manuscript will help fill this gap in both bodies of literature by examining differences in push and pull motivations for gang desistance across black, Hispanic, and white youth who reside in seven different cities across the USA. Methods The mixed-method analysis relies on grounded theory techniques to identify themes in the qualitative interviews as well as provides a quantitative comparison of gang desistance motivations. ResultsBlack youth were least likely to report pulls associated with prosocial attachments and were also least likely to report being disillusioned with intragang relationships. Hispanic youth most commonly reported pulls associated with parental encouragement and experiencing official sanctions and pushes centered on direct and vicarious violent experiences. White youth most commonly reported pulls associated with having a significant other and pushes including feelings of disillusionment with intragang relationships. Conclusion While there is evidence that street socialization and social isolation uniquely impact the gang desistance decisions of black gang youth, these differences might not be enough to justify race-specific intervention programs.
Article
Police–community relations are strained in the United States, especially along racial lines. This paper assesses community perceptions of crime and the police before and after the implementation of an intervention aimed at eliminating overt drug markets through focused deterrence and police–community partnerships emphasizing racial reconciliation. Mail surveys were sent to every household living within a two-mile radius of the block group where the intervention took place and we estimate differences-in-differences OLS models to examine whether the intervention changed perceptions of crime and police trust and legitimacy. Relative to non-black respondents, black respondents perceived a reduction in non-violent crimes and disorder as well as less racial profiling after the intervention; these results are robust to a number of robustness checks. We did not observe a change with respect to perceptions of police effectiveness, fairness, or other measures of police legitimacy.
Article
Law enforcement reporting following sexual assault is lower than for other violent crimes. Sexual assault nurse examiners (SANEs) provide care for patients in the acute period following sexual assault and are well-positioned to identify and address barriers to reporting. We examined data from medical forensic examination records documented by SANEs for a 5-year period (2011–2015). We examined 347 records of women 18 and older to identify factors associated with law enforcement reporting at the time of the exam using binomial logistic regression to construct odds ratios (OR). A total of 56.5% of patients in the sample reported to law enforcement. Patients who did not voluntarily consume alcohol were more likely to report than those who did (OR = 4.45; p = .001). Patients who were not students were more likely to report than students (OR = 3.24; p = .002). Patients who had a medical forensic exam within 32 hr of the assault were more likely to report than those having exams after 32 hr (OR = 2.68; p = .007). Patients who had anogenital and/or bodily injuries were more likely to report than those who had no injuries (OR = 2.50; p = .008). Patients who were penetrated (vaginally, orally, and/or anally) were more likely to report than those who were not penetrated (OR = 2.50; p = .056). Knowing the assailant, having multiple assailants, and patient and assailant race/ethnicity were not associated with different likelihood of reporting to law enforcement. SANEs and others who work with victims of sexual assault can use data to understand and address barriers to reporting.
Article
Purpose The purpose of this paper is to examine if global and situational support for police use of force vary across first-generation immigrants, second-generation immigrants and native-born Americans. Design/methodology/approach Drawing on data from the 2012 General Social Survey, multivariate logistic regression models are performed to predict each of the three binary outcome variables (e.g. support for police use of reasonable force or excessive force) depending on immigrant generation status. Findings Results indicate that, compared with native-born individuals, first-generation immigrants express less global support for police use of force and less support for police use of reasonable force. In contrast, the first-generation group is more supportive of police use of excessive force compared to the second-generation group and native-born group. Originality/value Much research on immigrants’ perceptions of the police has yielded conflicting findings. Part of the reason has been attributed to failure to distinguish first-generation immigrants from successive generations of immigrants. The present study fills a gap in this line of research by assessing the extent to which there is a disparity in support for police use of force between different generations of immigrants and native-born individuals.
Article
This mixed methods descriptive study is an effort to describe whether “The Talk” (regarding behavior during interactions with police) occurs equally in African American, Latino, and White families and to determine the content of these conversations. A sample of 307 university students, in three areas of Texas, were surveyed with closed and open-ended items. Data were analyzed quantitatively using descriptive statistics and t-test difference between proportion analyses and qualitatively through a process of coding to identify patterns and themes in the open-ended responses. The findings reveal that a majority (74%) of the youth surveyed have had “The Talk” with their parents/guardians, and this influences their perceptions of the police. Unsurprisingly, African Americans were found to be more fearful and distrustful of law enforcement than Whites and Latinos. Latinos shared many similar, more positive, perceptions of law enforcement with Whites in contrast to African Americans. Whites, however, evidenced the most faith in law enforcement and in the idea that their complaints about police misconduct would attain results.
Article
Aims: This study explored how neighborhood cohesion is related to perceptions of procedural justice in policing, and the moderating role of cultural race-related stress among Black adults. Methods: We conducted hierarchical regression analyses of a US sample of Black adults (N = 604) to examine if neighborhood cohesion and cultural race-related stress relate to global procedural justice in policing and procedural justice during a critical police stop. Moderation analyses were conducted to determine if cultural race-related stress strengthens or weakens the relationship between neighborhood cohesion and procedural justice in policing. Results: Neighborhood cohesion was positively related to procedural justice at critical stops. For participants with above average stress from cultural racism, positive neighborhood cohesion was related to greater global perceptions of procedural justice in policing. Conclusions: Altogether, these findings highlight how structural and local environmental factors can influence perceptions of police among Black adults in the US.
Article
This study uses an intersectional approach to examine the “paradox” that disadvantaged victims often mobilize the police, despite their distrust and lack of confidence in the law. Data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (1994–2016) were analyzed using logistic regression to model the predicted probabilities of police notification by victims of crime. Economic disadvantage, as measured by family poverty and lack of a high school education, increased the probability that females reported their victimization to the police, but decreased the likelihood that males did so. Economically disadvantaged black females had the highest probability of reporting, while economically disadvantaged black and Hispanic males had the lowest. Examining the intersectional differences across social groups shows that reporting behavior is not just a function of one attribute but rather is a function of multiple identities and structural inequalities.
Thesis
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African-American civilian confidence in law enforcement falls substantially short of White civilian confidence in law enforcement. That confidence “race gap” has been found to suppress African-American trust in and cooperation with local police. The purpose of this study was to quantify African-American underrepresentation in American law enforcement agencies, but beyond that, the study was designed to assess the degree to which that underrepresentation adversely affects African-American civilian confidence in local law enforcement agencies independent of the confidence-reducing impacts known to arise from fear of crime, neighborhood context, and recent negative contacts with law enforcement. Although the study found the independent impact of African-American underrepresentation on local police forces was not significant, this study nonetheless recommends that law enforcement agencies continue to pursue managerial strategies to increase African-American police officer hiring and retention and thereby seek to capitalize on the other benefits of diversity and representativeness.
Article
Progress towards racial equality has left many Whites, particularly men, feeling that Whites have replaced Blacks as the principal victims of discrimination. Thus, although Whites’ privileged position in American society disallows their true oppression, many still feel discriminated against. Following a general strain theory framework, this study examines the associations between perceived anti-white bias, anger, and offending for White youth. Furthermore, we investigate if the revealed associations vary by gender. Results suggest that Whites who perceive experiencing high levels of anti-white bias have high levels of offending behaviors. Moreover, these associations are amplified by anger and felt the strongest by young men. These findings underscore the importance of incorporating critical perspectives on whiteness into the study of crime.
Article
Despite much anecdotal, journalistic, and statistical evidence of their oppression by colonial and neocolonial police practices, little is known about Indigenous peoples’ attitudes towards the police in Canada. The theory that involuntary police–citizen contacts increase citizens’ mistrust, fear, and dissatisfaction and, ultimately, decreases confidence in the police was advanced. Hypotheses arising from this historical-theoretical context were tested with the 2014 panel of Canada’s General Social Survey, including 951 Indigenous (First Nations, Métis, or Inuit) and 21,576 non Indigenous white participants. Indigenous identity and involuntary contacts were both significantly associated with a lack of confidence in police, p < .001. As hypothesized, the odds associated with involuntary contacts (odds ratio [OR] = 2.66) were stronger than those associated with being Indigenous (OR = 1.81). While the hypothesized ethnicity by contact interaction was not observed, Indigenous participants (5%) were two and a half times as likely as non-Indigenous white participants (2%) to have had relatively frequent (two or more) involuntary contacts with the police during the past year. Therefore, at the population level Indigenous people are at much greater risk of coming into involuntary contact with the police and of consequently lacking confidence in police. Policy implications and future research needs are discussed.
Article
People who live in places with high levels of crime and disorder are more likely to experience mental illness compared with those who do not live in these types of place (Weisburd et al., 2018; Weisburd & White, 2019). The increased police presence on high crime streets may also increase the likelihood that these individuals will encounter law enforcement. There is a strong body of literature focused on the relationship between neighborhoods and the physical and mental health of residents (e.g. Arcaya et al., 2016; Duncan & Kawachi, 2018; Leventhal & Brooks‐Gunn, 2003), but there are very few studies that look at the perceptions of people with mental illness directly, particularly as they relate to the environment of the street on which they live and attitudes toward the police. In turn, existing studies generally look at the most serious mental health problems (e.g. schizophrenia), ignoring more common mental health concerns such as post‐traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. This paper uses self‐report data from a large in‐person survey of people who live on crime hot spot and non‐hot spot streets in order to assess attitudes among a broader group of persons with mental health problems. Furthermore, we examine the interaction between living in crime hot spots and non‐hot spots and perceptions of these residents. Our findings in this broader sample confirm earlier studies that identify greater fear and less trust of the police among persons with mental illnesses. At the same time, our findings suggest that fear of crime and perceptions of police are moderated by living in a crime hot spot.
Article
Opioid‐related overdose deaths among African Americans have only recently received national attention despite evidence of increase in death rates among this population spanning the past decade. Numerous authors have highlighted how the ‘opioid epidemic’ has largely been portrayed as a problem mostly affecting White America. The purpose of this commentary is to provide a synthesis spotlighting the unique structural and cultural considerations involved in research, practice and policy related to opioid use and treatment for opioid use disorders among African Americans. The commentary concludes with considerations for future research and practice intended to reduce deaths among this group.
Article
Through interviews (n = 40) and surveys (n = 140) with separate samples of U.S. defense attorneys practicing criminal law in a Northeastern state, we utilize a mixed- methods approach to explore police procedural transgressions (e.g., pretextual stops, overreaching searches) during stops, searches, and seizures. With a structural equation path model, we examine whether and how procedural justice (an assessment of “the means” to control crime) and police effectiveness (an assessment of police performance or “the ends”) affect each other and influence perceptions of police legitimacy. Our findings indicate that procedural justice enhances perceptions of police legitimacy, whereas police effectiveness does not have an effect. Policy implications for developing mechanisms that discourage procedural transgressions by police are discussed.
Article
Police notification and social service acquisition are two forms of formal help-seeking linked to improved outcomes among survivors of intimate partner violence (IPV), including better socio-emotional health, improved physical health, and, importantly, increased safety. The majority of research devoted to the study of formal help-seeking among survivors of IPV focuses on incident- and individual-level factors and their relationship with formal resource utilization. Much less is known about community-level factors. Using a nationally representative sample of incidents of IPV from the National Crime Victimization Survey (2006–2016), this work explores how law enforcement and social service resources in a community are related to police notification and survivor acquisition of a victim service after an incident of IPV, net of incident- and individual-level factors. Logistic regression models indicate that the number of law enforcement personnel per 1,000 residents in a county is positively associated with police notification after an incident of IPV, and it exerts an indirect effect on survivor service acquisition through police notification. Additional analyses reveal that the race/ethnicity of the survivor of IPV is a key demographic in the explanation of this relationship, as incidents of IPV involving White and Hispanic survivors of IPV are more likely to come to the attention of police as the number of law enforcement personnel increases. The reverse is true for incidents involving Black survivors of IPV. No differences across survivor sex emerged. Potential reasons to account for varying effects across race/ethnicity are discussed as well as the importance of additional funding for police and social service agencies to serve survivors of IPV and meet the dual goals of offender accountability and survivor safety and well-being.
Article
Research findings show that legal cynicism—a cultural frame in which skepticism about laws, the legal system, and police is expressed—is important in understanding neighborhood variation in engagement with the police, particularly in racially isolated African American communities. We argue that legal cynicism is also useful for understanding neighborhood variation in complaints about police misconduct. Using data on complaints filed in Chicago between 2012 and 2014, we show that grievances disproportionately came from racially segregated neighborhoods and that a measure of legal cynicism from the mid‐1990s predicts complaints about abuse of police power two decades later. The association between legal cynicism and complaints is net of prior complaints, reported crime, imprisonment, and other structural factors that contribute to the frequency and nature of interactions involving police and residents. Legal cynicism also mediates the influence of racially isolated neighborhoods on complaints. The mid‐1990s is the approximate midpoint of a half‐century of police scandals in Chicago. Our research findings suggest that contemporary complaints about police misconduct in highly segregated Chicago neighborhoods are grounded in collectively shared historical memories of police malfeasance. They also suggest that persistent complaints about police misconduct may represent officially memorialized expressions of enduring racial protest against police abuse of power.
Article
Objective This article investigates changes in confidence in legal authorities associated with mass incarceration. Methods Binary logistic regression models are used to analyze five waves of data from a national survey of U.S. adults collected between 1981 and 2011 (n = 8,548). Predicted probabilities and discrete change coefficients are calculated to examine changes in blacks’ and whites’ attitudes about police and courts associated with changes in the incarceration rate. Results As the incarceration rate grew, blacks’ confidence in police declined substantially, while whites’ was unchanged. Blacks and whites each lost confidence in courts as incarceration increased. However, the loss was significantly greater among blacks than whites. Conclusions The growing incarceration rate was accompanied by distinctive shifts in blacks’ and whites’ confidence in legal authorities. This article underscores the importance of macro legal contexts for understanding race differences in legal confidence.
Article
Research Summary During a brief interaction with motorists (i.e., a sobriety check), this study manipulated officer use (and declaration) of a body‐worn camera (BWC) (present; absent) while documenting participant BWC recollection (correct; incorrect) to assess effects on motorists’ perceptions of the encounter and of police more generally. Results (N = 361) demonstrate that perceptions of procedural justice were more favourable in the BWC‐present condition when the entire sample was included in the analyses, but that this effect was not significant when focusing on the subset of the sample that correctly recollected BWC use (though the pattern of the effect was the same in both analyses). Policy Implications In combination with results from a handful of similar studies, this study's results suggest that BWCs may be a tool that can be leveraged to enhance public perceptions of encounters with police; however, more research is needed to substantiate this claim. In particular, the development of evidence‐based policy on this matter necessitates continued studies that address issues such as sample imbalances (e.g., gender and minority status), length of the interaction studied (i.e., experimental dosage), and controlling for officer behavior.
Thesis
It is an axiom among both researchers and the public that American perceptions of the police are racially divided. Previous studies have traditionally focused on inter-racial perceptions, and have found support for social variables (e.g. education) and legal variables (e.g. prior arrest). The current study seeks to determine if legal oppression or social oppression are better predictors of negative attitudes toward the police among a sample of black university students. Ordinary least squares regression seeks determine which set of factors better predict police perceptions. This intra-racial examination allows future research to parse nuances among police perceptions in the black community. The implications of these results and future directions are discussed, in particular for the continued development of a black criminology (Unnever, Gabbidon, & Chouhy, 2019).
Article
This paper advances a comparative conflict theory of racial and ethnic similarities and differences in youth perceptions of criminal injustice. We use HLM models to test six conflict hypotheses with data from more than 18,000 Chicago public school students. At the micro-level African American youth are more vulnerable to police contacts than are Latinos, who are more at risk than whites, and there is a corresponding gradient in minority group perceptions of injustice. When structural sources of variation in adolescents' experiences are taken into account, however, minority youth perceptions of criminal injustice appear more similar to one another, while remaining distinct from those of white youth. At the micro-level, Latino youth respond more strongly and negatively to police contacts, even though they experience fewer of them. At the macrolevel, as white students in schools increase cross-sectionally, perceptions of injustice among both African American and Latino youth at first intensify and then ultimately abate. Although there are again signs of a gradient, African American and Latino responses to school integration also are as notable in their similarities as in their differences. Reduced police contacts and meaningful school integration are promising mechanisms for diminishing both adolescent African American and Latino perceptions of criminal injustice.
Article
A study which obtained black street respondents as well as black household respondents, who are the only respondents obtained in surveys by other investigators, reveals some noteworthy differences from earlier findings on the relationship between social status and attitudes toward and experiences with the police.
Article
Police departments rely on residents to report crime in order to help keep communities safe. Research suggests that attitudes toward the police are influenced by race and ethnicity; however, research on Latinos is underdeveloped. Confidence in the police among Latinos is complicated by local law enforcement's role in immigration enforcement, which potentially discourages cooperation with the police. The current study examines whether Latino confidence in the police varies by experiences with immigration enforcement, level of assimilation, or immigration status. Study findings suggest that Hispanics who have been questioned about their immigration status have less confidence in the police than those who have not. The results provide some evidence that experiences with immigration enforcement may degrade confidence in the police among Latinos.
Article
This article examines the hypothesis that citizen's perceptions of injustice are based on normative factors (i.e., perceptions of equity and fairness) rather than instrumental factors (i.e., the outcomes received) by examining citizen's perceptions of injustice are assessed using data collected for the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)-sponsored Police-Public Contact Survey, a national survey of citizens regarding their contacts with police, collected in 1999. Using multinomial logistic regression, the influences of the normative and instrumental perspectives are examined while controlling for citizen's characteristics and race-interaction terms, along with legal, situational, and other control variables. The findings support Tyler's proposition that citizens are concerned with issues of fairness in addition to the actual outcomes they receive from criminal-justice officials. The findings also show significant differences in citizens' perceptions of distributive and procedural injustice by race. The implications for policy and future research are explored.
Article
This study aims to uncover various aspects of police interactions that contribute to disproportionate minority contact with the juvenile justice system. In-depth interviews were conducted using a sample of 30 male juveniles residing in a correctional facility. The most consistent themes that arose included police allotting more chances to Whites than youth of color, repeated arrests by the same officer, police awareness of family reputations, and officers using unnecessary force against youth of color. Findings demonstrate that contact with the juvenile justice system is not only disproportionate but also distinct in its form depending on the race of the juvenile.
Article
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Article
We advance here a neighborhood-level perspective on racial differences in legal cynicism, dissatisfaction with police, and the tolerance of various forms of deviance. Our basic premise is that structural characteristics of neighbor-hoods explain variations in normative orientations about law, criminal justice, and deviance that are often confounded with the demographic characteristics of individuals. Using a multilevel approach that permits the decomposition of variance within and between neighborhoods, we tested hypotheses on a recently completed study of 8,782 residents of 343 neighborhoods in Chicago. Contrary to received wisdom, we find that African Americans and Latinos are less tolerant of deviance--including violence--than whites. At the same time, neighborhoods of concentrated disadvantage display elevated levels of legal cynicism, dissatisfaction with police, and tolerance of deviance unaccounted for by sociodemographic composition and crime-rate differences. Concentrated disadvantage also helps explain why African Americans are more cynical about law and dissatisfied with the police. Neighborhood context is thus important for resolving the seeming paradox that estrangement from legal norms and agencies of criminal justice, especially by blacks, is compatible with the personal condemnation of deviance.
Article
This study extends the dominant Black-White paradigm in assessing public perceptions of the police by including Hispanic and Asian Americans. Relying on a large random sample of Seattle residents, this study examines: (1) perceptions of police problem-solving, hassling, racial profiling and bias among Hispanic, Asian, Black and White Americans and (2) factors that influence police perceptions. Results reveal both majority-minority and inter-minority variations in attitudes towards police, suggesting that a single vertical scale or gradation of attitudes cannot adequately describe the complexity of different racial/ethnic groups' perceptions of multiple aspects of policing. A range of individual demographic, police-and crime-related, and neighbourhood structural and cultural factors influence public perceptions of the police. Some interesting findings include that educational attainment and employment have negative effects on public satisfaction with the police, police visibility is associated with greater satisfaction with police problem-solving yet stronger beliefs on police harassment and racial profiling, and neighbourhood codes of violence is a consistent and outstanding predictor of public perceptions of the police. Possible explanations are provided.
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Relying on survey data collected from over 1,300 students of 13–18 years old across multiple US cities, this study attempts to integrate race into social bond theory to explain the variation in juvenile perceptions of the police. Results indicate significant differential outlooks between white and black teenagers, and to a lesser extent, between white and Hispanic juveniles. Social bonds, especially commitment to school and conventional beliefs, have significant effects on juveniles’ attitudes. The effects of race and social bonds are more independent and social bonds do not mediate the race-attitudes relationship. Other factors, such as juvenile delinquency, victimization, and sense of safety, are also related to juvenile assessments of the police. Implications of the findings are discussed.
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It has been proposed that hiring more Black police officers is an effective way to alleviate long-standing tensions between police and African Americans because Black officers will connect with Black citizens and treat them well. This hypothesis, however, fails to account for the macro-level context of the troubled locations in which African Americans disproportionately reside and wherein police-minority citizen problems are deep seated. The present study examines two competing hypotheses concerning the influence ofofficer race relative to that of ecological context in shaping African Americans’ experiences with and perceptions of local police. These hypotheses are testedusing in-depth interview data with Black residents of a majority-Black, high-crime, economically troubled city. Implications for policy and future research are discussed.
Article
Policemen and policewomen are the most visible and obtrusive agents of governmental authority and power to the average citizen. This being the case, what the public think about police and their work is highly important--and may well serve as a significant social indicator of the political health of the society as a whole. Using telephone survey data gathered in the St. Louis SMSA during the Summer of 1977 as part of a major study of police services, a number of hypotheses regarding the influence of political alienation, perceived local crime, perceived police integrity, race, and social class upon public evaluation of local police performance were tested. Public ratings of police were generally quite high. However, those lacking trust in police integrity, who viewed crime as increasing, who expressed estrangement from the political process, as well as those who were nonwhite or lower class were more likely to rate police performance negatively than others. In addition, a number of noteworthy conditional effects were uncovered utilizing the nonmetric least-squares estimation procedure developed by Grizzle, Starmer, and Koch (1969). The generalizability of these conditional effects needs to be examined in future research within this area.
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Recent research has established the importance of informal social control to a variety of aspects of neighborhood life, including the prevalence of crime. This work has described informal social control as rooted in a neighborhood's structural and social context, but has less frequently explored the interconnections between informal and formal social control efforts. Drawing on data from Seattle, this article suggests that perceptions of formal social control—specifically perceptions of police procedural injustice and police efficacy—directly influence both individual evaluations of informal social control efforts as well as neighborhood capacities for informal social control. We suggest a pragmatic mechanism to explain this relationship—that low evaluations of the police will influence perceptions of the effectiveness of and costs associated with informal social control efforts—and we control for alternative cultural explanations related to the desirability of social control. Most strikingly, we find that strong racial disparities in faith in the police help explain why neighborhoods with larger race-ethnic minority populations have lower capacities for informal social control. We conclude with a discussion of emerging accounts of the role of culture in local organizational processes and of the larger social implications of the race-ethnic stratification of perceptions of the police.
Article
We test three different conceptual models—“experience with police,” “quality of life,” and “neighborhood context”—for directional accuracy and ability to explain satisfaction with the police. We also investigate whether these models help to explain the common finding that African-Americans are more dissatisfied with the police than are Caucasians. To do so, we use hierarchical linear modeling to simultaneously regress our outcome measure on clusters of citizen- and neighborhood-level variables. The analysis was conducted using recently collected information from the Project on Policing Neighborhoods (POPN). The data file consisted of survey responses from 5,361 citizens residing in 58 neighborhoods located in Indianapolis, Indiana and St. Petersburg, Florida. At the citizen level, the psychologically based “quality of life” model accounts for the greatest proportion of explained variance and provides the greatest directional accuracy. Also, residents of neighborhoods characterized by concentrated disadvantage express significantly less satisfaction with the police. In addition, neighborhood context reduces the negative effect of African-American status on satisfaction with police when a sparse citizen-level specification is used; racial variation in satisfaction with police persists, however, when citizen-level hierarchical models are specified more fully.
Article
Using a national survey of U.S. residents this study examines racial, socioeconomic, and community explanations for the trust of local police. We hypothesize that the construct of social capital offers a nexus for explaining racial differences in attitudes toward the police. We measure social capital as a construct by aggregating together measures that assess the degree of trust and civic engagement in communities. The results indicate that depleted levels of perceived community social capital contribute to higher levels of distrust of local police. Social capital, however, partially mediates the relative distrust of Blacks toward the police. These findings suggest only partial support for a social capital explanation of Blacks’ distrust in the police. The implications of these findings for police reform efforts to mend minority relations in urban cities are discussed.
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Researchers have emphasized the importance of direct encounters with the police as a determinant of attitudes toward the police, yet cross-sectional studies allow for limited causal inference. This study includes the measurement of attitudes before and after encounters with the police among African American, Hispanic, and White residents of Chicago. Contrary to previous research, direct contact with the police during the past year is not enough to change attitudes, but vicarious experience (i.e., learning that someone else has had a good or bad encounter with the police) does influence attitudes in a predictable manner. Also, residents’ initial attitudes about the police play a critical role in shaping their judgments of subsequent direct and indirect experiences as well as their future attitudes. The findings are discussed in terms of stereotypes about the police that are resistant to change.
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This article examines the determinants of citizen satisfaction with police. Using data from a recent nationwide survey of Whites, Hispanics, and African Americans, the authors test several hypotheses about how situational and structural factors shape attitudes toward the police. Much has been written about Black-White differences in views of the police, but most of this literature does little to explain why these differences exist. Moreover, very little is known about Hispanics’ relations with the police. We take a step toward closing this gap by developing a model of relations between police and minority-group members that focuses on such explanatory factors as personal contacts with officers, neighborhood crime conditions, and policing practices in accounting for variations in satisfaction with police.
Article
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During the past 20 years, there has been an expanding body of research examining citizens’ attitudes toward the police. Most of this research has been directed at assessing the determinants of these attitudes. In contrast, less attention has been focused on the reasons why citizens hold certain attitudes. The present study uses the survey responses of 613 residents of a midwestern city to examine the information accessed by citizens when responding to questions regarding their general and specific attitudes toward the police. The findings suggest that citizens focus on attributes of agencies and encounters, some focus on the behavior of officers during interactions, and others base their attitudes on general perceptions of the occupation of policing. Furthermore, the referent employed by citizens is not always consistent with the attitude object (i.e., general questions elicit specific responses). The likelihood that police agencies can influence citizens’ attitudes is also assessed.
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Studies considering perceptions of the police have traditionally focused on very broad outcome measures (e.g., global views of the police). In an era of community policing, it is imperative to consider how the public perceives the police and police services using measures reflecting this alternative paradigm of policing. In addition, recent research suggests that perceptions of the police are formed within the context of respondents’neighborhood cultures and contexts. This research examines factors predicting citizen perceptions of police services in a Midwestern community, incorporating variables reflecting respondents’ demographic traits, experiences, and neighborhood contexts. The analysis tests the predictive power of these factors using both traditional outcome measures and perceptions of police services based on community-policing criteria. The findings demonstrate the need for multidimensional constructs of citizen perceptions of police services and highlight important dimensions of public perceptions of community policing.
Article
Objectives: Describe the developmental trajectory of perceptions of the police by youth as they transition from adolescence to young adulthood. Method: A longitudinal experiment to evaluate the impact of the D.A.R.E. program (N = 1,773). Latent variable growth modeling was used. Results: A dramatic decline in the favorable attitudes of youth toward the police begins in about seventh grade. More negative perceptions of police are associated with minority racial status, negative experiences with officers, involvement in the delinquent subculture, and greater expressions of skewed legal norms. There is a long-term positive effect of D.A.R.E. on attitudes toward the police, particularly for African American youth. Conclusion: The study highlights the importance of theorizing about perceptions of the police from a life course perspective. Findings raise new policy questions about the long-term impact of school-based programs, such as D.A.R.E., and the role of multiple reference groups in the formation of minorities' attitudes. More research is needed to gain a better understanding of the cognitive and experiential processes involved in attitude formation.
Article
Various factors have been identified by previous studies as predictive of citizens’ attitudes toward the police, but there has not been as much effort to establish whether higher educational attainment has any effect on the gap between the various population groups that typically differ in their perception of the police. This study tests for the effect of race and other factors on the attitude of college students toward the police. Students in a mid-sized 4-year public university were presented with an instrument of 14 statements and asked to indicate the extent to which they agreed or disagreed with each of them on a 5-point Likert scale. A comparison of the mean responses was made and independent t-tests were established by race, gender, prior police encounter, and academic major. The attitudinal differences were most significant by race followed by gender, whereas the differences by prior police encounter and academic major failed to rise to statistical significance. The implications are discussed.
Article
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Prior research has consistently demonstrated the salience of minority status in understanding racial and ethnic differences in perceptions of the police. This research has overwhelmingly shown that Blacks and Latinos hold lower levels of trust and confidence in the police than do Whites and other racial minorities. The increased skepticism of the police expressed by minority citizens is commonly associated with racial profiling and documented racial disparities in police behavior. Although policing research has empirically demonstrated the influence of race on perceptions of the police, few studies have explored the relevance of officer race in shaping citizens’ evaluations of police encounters. Using data from the BJS Police–Public Contact Survey, the purpose of this study is to examine whether racial variation in evaluations of police behavior is moderated by the race of the officer. The results suggest that officer race may be an important factor in shaping citizen perceptions of police stops, particularly when it comes to Black citizens. This finding is important as it provides some evidence that increasing the number of minority officers may be one viable option for improving citizen–officer relations.
Article
This paper advances a comparative conflict theory of racial and ethnic similarities and differences in youth perceptions of criminal injustice. We use HLM models to test six conflict hypotheses with data from more than 18,000 Chicago public school students. At the micro-level African American youth are more vulnerable to police contacts than are Latinos, who are more at risk than whites, and there is a corresponding gradient in minority group perceptions of injustice. When structural sources of variation in adolescents' experiences are taken into account, however, minority youth perceptions of criminal injustice appear more similar to one another, while remaining distinct from those of white youth. At the micro-level, Latino youth respond more strongly and negatively to police contacts, even though they experience fewer of them. At the macrolevel, as white students in schools increase cross-sectionally, perceptions of injustice among both African American and Latino youth at first intensify and then ultimately abate. Although there are again signs of a gradient, African American and Latino responses to school integration also are as notable in their similarities as in their differences. Reduced police contacts and meaningful school integration are promising mechanisms for diminishing both adolescent African American and Latino perceptions of criminal injustice.
Article
A study which obtained black street respondents as well as black household respondents, who are the only respondents obtained in surveys by other investigators, reveals some noteworthy differences from earlier findings on the relationship between social status and attitudes toward and experiences with the police.
Article
This article explores citizen perceptions, goals, and expectations in filing complaints against the police. It is based on 10 focus groups representing a cross-section of a medium-sized midwestern community. Its findings confirm earlier research indicating a poor "fit" between complainant goals and complaint procedures. Although most existing complaint procedures are designed to investigate complaints of officer misconduct and to punish guilty officers, relatively few of the focus group participants indicated punishment as their goal. The majority wanted either an explanation for the incident, an apology, a face-to-face encounter with the officer, or documentation of the incident on the officer's record.
Article
This article examines Chinese immigrants’ perceptions of the police in New York City. It identifies the areas of these immigrants’ concerns related to the interaction with the police. Data are analyzed based on a survey conducted with 151 Chinese immigrants in the boroughs of Queens, Manhattan, and Brooklyn between July and August 2004. The findings include the following: (a) Individuals who had previous contact with police rated police as less favorable, (b) those who rated police as helpful when they called the police for help expressed greater satisfaction toward police, and (c) a strong majority of respondents stated that more bilingual police were needed in the city. In general, the quality of police contact, rather than the quantity of police contact, mattered the most to respondents. Improving the quality of police services, recruiting more bilingual officers, and deepening understanding of cultural differences should enhance immigrants’ satisfaction with the police.
Article
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Much of the research on police-citizen relations has focused on adults, not youth. Given that adolescents and particularly young males are more likely than adults to have involuntary and adversarial contacts with police officers, it is especially important to investigate their experiences with and perceptions of the police. This article examines the accounts of young Black and White males who reside in one of three disadvantaged St. Louis, Missouri, neighborhoods — one predominantly Black, one predominantly White, and the other racially mixed. In-depth interviews were conducted with the youths, and the authors’ analysis centers on the ways in which both race and neighborhood context influence young males’ orientations toward the police.
Article
Blacks and Whites perceive American social institutions in very different terms, and views of the police are no exception. Prior research has consistently demonstrated that race is one of the most salient predictors of attitudes toward the police, with African Americans expressing more dissatisfaction than Whites. The purpose of this research is to evaluate this issue by examining the relative influence of vicarious experience and more general trust in social institutions on Black-White differences in perceptions of disrespect by the police. Using survey data from the North Carolina Highway Traffic Study, the results suggest that vicarious experience and more long-standing trust in social institutions influence the likelihood that respondents will perceive police as disrespectful.
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Previous research has shown that Blacks are more likely than Whites to hold unfavorable opinions of criminal justice agencies in America, but the literature has rarely examined whether social class also affects these opinions. Using recent national survey data on perceptions of racial discrimination by the police and the criminal justice system, this study examines the effects of race and class on citizen attitudes. The findings indicate that (1) race is a strong predictor of attitudes and (2) class affects several of these views. An important finding is that middle-class Blacks are sometimes more critical of the police and justice system than are lower-class Blacks.
Article
Research has long identified racial differences in perceptions of criminal injustice. Given that race is confounded with neighbourhood context, it remains unclear the extent to which individual or neighbourhood attributes explain racial differences in these perceptions. This paper advances research on racial differences in perceptions of unjust police practices in the US by relying on a survey of 3000 residents in 53 Cincinnati neighbourhoods. A propensity score weighting approach is used to identify a model by which Whites and Blacks living in similar neighbourhood environments can be compared with each other. The results demonstrate that race remains a significant predictor of perceptions of unjust police practices, even after taking into account the ecological structuring of neighbourhoods and their perceived environmental context. These findings suggest that racial consciousness with regard to perceived injustices by the police is not purely a condition of personal or structural disadvantage. The implications of these findings for police reform efforts to mend minority relations in urban cities are discussed.
Article
The primary purpose of this study is to assess the relative effects of race and class, at both individual and neighborhood levels, on public satisfaction with police. Using hierarchical linear modeling on 1,963 individuals nested within 66 neighborhoods, this study analyzes how individual-level variables, including race, class, age, gender, victimization and contact with police, and neighborhood-level factors, including racial composition, concentrated disadvantage, residential mobility and violent crime rate, influence residents' satisfaction with police. The results from the individual-level analysis indicate that both race and class are equally important predictors. African Americans and lower-class people tend to be less satisfied with police. The significant effects of race and class, however, disappear when neighborhood-level characteristics are considered simultaneously. Neighborhood racial composition affects satisfaction with police, with residents in predominately White and racially mixed neighborhoods having more favorable attitudes than those in predominately African American communities. Further analyses reveal that African Americans in economically advantaged neighborhoods are less likely than Whites in the same kind of neighborhoods to be satisfied with police, whereas African Americans and Whites in disadvantaged communities hold similar levels of satisfaction with police. Implications for future research and policy are discussed.
Article
In this study we examine citizens' support for aggressive traffic enforcement strategies and discuss whether the implementation of two different types of traffic enforcement decreases public support. We also examine whether citizens' perceptions of crime, quality of life, and the police are influenced by an increased police presence in their neighborhood. The public opinion data presented here are taken from two experimental target areas and one comparison area. Overall the findings suggest that citizens strongly support aggressive traffic enforcement practices and that the implementation of such strategies does not reduce their support. Residents of areas where police are using these types of tactics do not think that the police are harassing them. Citizens living in one of the experimental areas are significantly more likely to support the police, and think that the police work well with the neighborhood. Residents of the areas that experienced two types of aggressive enforcement, however, did not think that crime had decreased, nor that quality of life had improved. We discuss implications for the use of these strategies and for community policing in general.
Article
This exploratory study examined attitudes toward police work and the police profession among Whites, Blacks, English-speaking Hispanics, and Spanish-speaking Hispanics. A sample of 581 residents and 18 city officials in Midland and Odessa, Texas were randomly interviewed by telephone. Among the significant findings are the observations that: (1) compared to English-speaking Hispanics, Spanish-speaking Hispanics and Whites are more likely to cooperate with the police; (2) Spanish-speaking Hispanics are significantly more likely (compared to Whites and English-speaking Hispanics) to agree with the concept of a house visit by a police officer and of a racially and ethnically diverse police department; and (3) Spanish-speaking Hispanics feel more comfortable talking with an officer who has the same ethnic background, express a greater desire to become police officers compared to Whites and Blacks, and more likely believe that excessive use of force by the police exists in their neighborhood compared to Whites. The article also presents a summary of the methodology and the findings regarding the impact of demographic measures on attitudes.
Article
Although research has examined relations between minorities and the police, there is a paucity or recent or systematic evidence concerning abusive police practices. This investigation contributes to our knowledge of the issue by comparing perceptions of abusive police practices held by Anglos and Hispanics in a U.S.-Mexico border community. The study was based on a telephone/personal interview survey designed to yield a representative sample of the adult population of El Paso, Texas, a city which ranks among the poorest in the U.S. A four-item abusive police practices index was analyzed using OLS multiple regression. The findings show that the young, males, Hispanics and those residing in the barrio locale were more likely to report having seen abusive police practives, after controlling for general beliefs about police brutality and for various types of contact with the police.
Article
Although the number of police officers serving in schools has escalated in recent years, few studies of student perceptions of school police have been conducted. This study presents an analysis of data on student perceptions of school police officers and school security officers which were obtained from surveys administered to a sample of predominantly Hispanic students who reside in a predominantly Hispanic community. Descriptive analyses of the data show that the majority of students view the officers favourably, but comparisons of the present findings with previously published research on adult perceptions of the police indicate that the percentage of students who view the officers favourably is lower than the percentage of adults who view the police favourably. Regression analyses of the data indicate that gender has a varying impact on different measures of attitudes toward the officers, that year in school has no impact on perceptions of the officers and that personal knowledge of crime and delinquency in the schools has a negative impact on perceptions of the officers. The regression analyses also suggest that race/ethnicity has no impact on student perceptions of the officers; a finding which is consistent with prior research on perceptions of the police conducted in areas with sizeable racial/ethnic minority populations.
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