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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... Previous research has identified some consistent patterns, for example, that racial and ethnic minorities generally tend to hold less favorable views of police (Engel, 2005;Frank, Smith, & Novak, 2005;Gabbidon & Higgins, 2009;Peck, 2015;Smith & Holmes, 2003). However, this pattern does not hold true across all social contexts (De Angelis & Wolf, 2016;Frank, Brandl, Cullen, & Stichman, 1996;Ren, Cao, Lovrich, & Gaffney, 2005;, and relationships between demographic characteristics and satisfaction are complicated and often impacted by many factors including the measure of citizen satisfaction in the study, group position dynamics, the community or neighborhood context, and individual experiences with law enforcement (Cao, 2015;Cao, Frank, & Cullen, 1996;McCluskey, McCluskey, & Enriquez, 2008;Reisig & Parks, 2000;Schuck, Rosenbaum, & Hawkins, 2008;Wolfe, Nix, Kaminski, & Rojek, 2016;Wu, 2014). ...
... However, in most studies, Hispanic and Latino resident views of the police often fall between Black and White citizens. In a relatively recent review of 92 studies surrounding citizen satisfaction with police, Peck (2015) found that overall, Black citizens held the least favorable views of police, followed by Hispanic citizens, and White citizens held the most favorable views. According to Peck (2015), this pattern held regardless of how satisfaction was operationalized. ...
... In a relatively recent review of 92 studies surrounding citizen satisfaction with police, Peck (2015) found that overall, Black citizens held the least favorable views of police, followed by Hispanic citizens, and White citizens held the most favorable views. According to Peck (2015), this pattern held regardless of how satisfaction was operationalized. These findings mirror many previous studies of White, Black, and Hispanic citizens (Cheurprakobkit, 2000;Frank et al., 2005;Schuck et al., 2008;. ...
Article
Purpose While there has been a sizeable amount of research on identifying the correlates of citizen satisfaction with police agencies, that research has not been synthesized to identify patterns across different studies. This study presents the results of a meta-analysis that assessed the predictive strength of the most commonly included correlates of satisfaction with police. Methods An exhaustive search for studies on satisfaction with police produced 66 studies eligible for inclusion in the meta-analysis. Random effects models were conducted along with moderating analyses. Results Findings revealed that gender, race, age, fear of crime, and victimization were statistically significant predictors of satisfaction with police. Moderating analyses revealed that certain variables, Hispanic ethnicity, socioeconomic status, and perceptions of crime, while not significant in the main effect size analysis, were significant in the moderator analysis. Conclusions It is important that future research establishes a more standardized form of measurement for satisfaction, with the consideration that confidence and trust may operate as distinct constructs. Additionally, it is imperative to move beyond investigating demographic factors alone and instead focus on variables related to procedural justice, performance theory, and neighborhood context.
... Research has indicated that Black Americans tend to report negative perceptions of police (an individual's beliefs that the police are trustworthy, fair, and respectful to people in their community; Brown & Benedict, 2002;Hayward et al., 2017;Huebner et al., 2004;Peck, 2015). This dissatisfaction may be largely influenced by not only the documented history of racism in policing, including excessive use of force, unwarranted shootings, and controversial policies such as stop and frisk that have most negatively impacted Black Americans (and other racially marginalized groups; Bryant-Davis et al., 2017;Rosenbaum et al., 2005), but also the history of the American policing system as one established as a slave patrol (Alexander, 2012). ...
... Similar to patriotism, research has also consistently found that Black Americans report lower satisfaction and greater distrust with the police as compared to White Americans (see Peck, 2015, for a review). This is critical considering that, as Rosenbaum et al. (2005) stated, "The public's trust and confidence in the police is considered the cornerstone for public cooperation and the basis of police legitimacy in a democratic society" (p. ...
... While considerable research has been conducted on patriotism (Harlow & Dundes, 2004;Johnson, 2018;Schildkraut, 2014;Sidanius et al., 1994) and perceptions of police (Brown & Benedict, 2002;Hayward et al., 2017;Howell et al., 2004;Huebner et al., 2004;Peck, 2015) between Black and White Americans, research has not yet examined whether there is a relationship between these two constructs or whether there are racial group differences in this relationship-two aims of the present research. The hypotheses for the study were as follows: ...
... 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.
... The general trend shows that White Americans' views are the most positive followed by Hispanics' and Black Americans' views respectively (Cao & Wu, 2019;Ekins, 2016;Lai & Zhao, 2010;Pew Research Center, 2017;Wu, 2014). Persons who identify as a racial minority or non-White have a tendency to hold more negative views and attitudes toward the police when compared to White Americans in a meta-review by Peck (2015). This review also found that Hispanic participants have a more pos-itive view of the police than Black participants. ...
... Like past studies (for a review, see Peck, 2015), the present study collects data from U.S. residents. Such an approach might limit the study's external validity. ...
... There were no significant differences in perceptions of the police among White, Hispanic, and Asian participants, all p-values > .168. Thus, the present study replicated past findings that Black participants had more negative views of the police (Cao & Wu, 2019;Peck, 2015;Wu, 2014). ...
Article
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The public’s perceptions of the police are related to people’s willingness to obey the law and cooperate with law enforcement. Past research has found that demographics affect perceptions of the police. This study hypothesizes that those with a higher level of need for cognition and numeracy have more positive attitudes toward the police, possibly because they are more likely to recognize the importance and necessity of the police. 443 U.S. residents participated in this study via MTurk in May 2019. The demographic variables of age, gender, education, race, income, political ideology and party affiliation were collected. Crime rate was estimated via zip code obtained by searching IP address. Participants also completed the need for cognition, subjective and objective sales. As a result, in addition to replicating the role of demographic variables and crime rate, the study found that after controlling for demographics and crime rate, perceptions of the police were positively related to need for cognition and subjective and objective numeracy. Overall, this study indicates that thinking disposition and cognitive ability play a significant role in how the public perceives the police. The study also implies that perceptions of the police was a class issue. Future studies on hot social issues could extend their focus to cognitive factors.
... Using our dataset, another study found that youths who perceived more injustice (using a four-item combined measure of procedural, distributive, and substantive justice) were more likely to experience prisonization than those with a lower sense of injustice (Lanza-Kaduce, Lane, & Benedini, 2017). Yet, most studies summarizing the literature on perceptions of police concluded that younger age, more negative contacts with police, neighborhood factors, and minority race were the only consistent predictors of more negative attitudes toward police (Brown & Benedict, 2002; see also Decker, 1981;Peck, 2015 for a review). ...
... As noted above, prior research indicates that race is an important factor in understanding perceptions of the criminal justice system, in part due to differential experiences with the system and society generally, including racism (e.g., Buckler et al., , 2011Hagan et al., 2005;Miller & Foster, 2002;Peck, 2015;Tatar et al., 2012). Few studies examine race differences in perceptions of (in)justice among incarcerated youths, but those that do find minority youths have more negative perceptions of the system compared with White youths (see Miller & Foster, 2002;Tatar et al., 2012). ...
... Specifically, we found that nonwhite youths perceived more injustice than White youths for both the Matza and the Tyler indexes and in both the full sample and the boys-only subsample. In general, our findings on incarcerated youths align with prior research and popular assumptions that youths of color tend to perceive police more negatively and perceive more injustice, whether we examine Matza's ideas or Tyler's (Carr et al., 2007;Cox & Falkenberg, 1987;Fine et al., 2016;Gau & Brunson, 2010;Hagan et al., 2005;Nordberg et al., 2016;Novich & Hunt, 2017Peck, 2015;Rosenbaum et al., 2005;Tyler et al., 2014;cf. Frank et al., 1996). ...
Article
We compared the relationships between incarcerated youths’ injustice perceptions and demographic variables and personal and vicarious experiences with the justice system using indexes of injustice derived from Matza and Tyler. The two injustice frameworks represent different academic traditions in ways that raise different prospects. Matza contextualizes his formulation of injustice in group processes that emphasize shared neutralization of regulating norms because of injustice. That emphasis is absent in Tyler. Tyler’s work has led to an invariance claim across demographics that is not postulated by Matza. We analyzed data from the Florida Faith and Community-Based Delinquency Treatment Initiative. We found nonwhite youths perceived more injustice as measured by both indexes. In a boys-only subsample, younger boys perceived more injustice measured by the Tyler index. Vicarious exposure via friends’ experiences with police related to higher perceived levels of injustice only on the Matza index. We encourage researchers to be precise in their operationalizations and measurement of injustice perceptions and to consider the theoretical grounding of their research in making injustice measurement choices.
... Perhaps the most salient finding in the literature, however, is that there appears to be stratification by race and ethnicity: Black youth typically view the justice system and its officials the most poorly, followed by Latinx youth and then White youth (see Weitzer & Tuch, 2006;Weitzer, 2014). Considering the racial/ethnic differences in justice system contact, including greater community monitoring, disproportionately high justice system involvement, harsher sanctions, and more unfair and unjust treatment (Cochran & Mears, 2015), it is perhaps unsurprising that youth of color generally report more negative perceptions of police legitimacy and the justice system than do White youth (see Fine et al., 2019;Hagan et al., 2005;Peck, 2015). However, studies do not consistently find that Latinx youth perceive the justice system more positively than Black youth, thus more research is necessary (Peck, 2015). ...
... Considering the racial/ethnic differences in justice system contact, including greater community monitoring, disproportionately high justice system involvement, harsher sanctions, and more unfair and unjust treatment (Cochran & Mears, 2015), it is perhaps unsurprising that youth of color generally report more negative perceptions of police legitimacy and the justice system than do White youth (see Fine et al., 2019;Hagan et al., 2005;Peck, 2015). However, studies do not consistently find that Latinx youth perceive the justice system more positively than Black youth, thus more research is necessary (Peck, 2015). ...
Article
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Objective: Although researchers, policymakers, and practitioners recognize the importance of the public's perceptions of police, few studies have examined developmental trends in adolescents and young adults' views of police. Hypotheses: Hypothesis 1: Perceptions of police legitimacy would exhibit a U-shaped curve, declining in adolescence before improving in young adulthood. Hypothesis 2: At all ages, Black youth would report more negative perceptions of police legitimacy than Latino youth, who would report more negative perceptions than White youth. Hypothesis 3: Perceptions of police bias would be consistently associated with worse perceptions of police legitimacy. Method: Utilizing longitudinal data from the Crossroads Study, this study examined within-person trends in males' perceptions of police legitimacy from ages 13 to 22, as well as whether perceptions of police bias were associated with perceptions of police legitimacy. Results: Perceptions of police legitimacy followed a U-shaped curve that declined during adolescence, reached its lowest point around age 18, and improved during the transition to young adulthood. Compared with White youth, Latino and Black youth had shallower curves in perceptions of police legitimacy that exhibited less improvement during the transition to adulthood. Further, perceptions of police bias were consistently associated with more negative perceptions of police legitimacy across races and ages. Conclusions: While perceptions of police legitimacy may decline during adolescence before improving during the transition to adulthood, perceptions of police bias are consistently negatively related to youth and young adults' perceptions of police legitimacy. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved).
... The role trust plays in a variety of policing contexts has been explored in a number of frameworks, including, but not limited to, constructing police legitimacy, creating communitypolice partnerships, developing democratic policing practice, and recognizing the impact of inequities in police practice policy (see Cao 2015;Hamm et al. 2017;Mazerolle et al. 2013;Peck 2015;Smith et al. 2017;Tyler 2004 for literature reviews). In these frameworks, the focus of investigation often includes trust as a basis of feelings of legitimacy the public has towards police officers and their work. ...
... Full examination of the conditions that create (or erode) community trust in policing structures is beyond the scope of the present manuscript. Examples of recent literature reviews covering both American domestic and international contexts demonstrate challenges not only with assessment of community-police relationships (including levels of legitimacy and trust), but with interpreting and comparing results based on constituency identity (for example, immigrants, ethnic minorities, sexual and gender identities, or crime victims) (Koster et al. 2016;Peck 2015;Stotzer 2014;Wu 2010;Wu et al. 2017). Here, we utilize elements of Stoutland's trust model with a focus on the direction of assessing levels of trust officers hold in their communities (rather than the more common community-to-police direction). ...
Article
Current scholarship suggests attention should be focused on differences in specific job-related conditions to understand help-seeking behavior among police officers. This project examines how officers’ feelings of department satisfaction and on-the-job emotions may be associated with trust in members of the community they police. Specifically, officers were asked to report trust levels both in a general sense and in the context of a potential officer-involved shooting (OIS) incident. Print and electronic surveys were completed by 169 police officers across 9 agencies located in 5 New Jersey counties between September 2019 and March 2020. Survey questions covered frequency of on-the-job emotions, satisfaction with department administration, and knowledge of local culture. Bivariate comparisons show officers’ levels of both general and post-OIS community trust significantly differ based on reported frequency of emotion, assessment of job satisfaction and department administration, and wider cultural context. Furthermore, multivariate analyses indicate significant factors associated with trust levels include frequency of both positive (fulfillment) and negative (frustration) emotions, satisfaction with training, and attitudes towards the importance of understanding local culture. Findings suggest the complexity of police–community relationships should be more fully explored in relation to supporting aspects of job-related mental wellness in police officers.
... Political scientists and sociologists have analysed people's participation as a function of the perceived costs and benefits (Aldrich, 1993;Olson, 2009), while social psychologists mostly focused on the pivotal role played by social identity processes, specifically, social identification in collective action (Hogg et al., 2017;Hogg and Terry, 2014). Additionally, the extant research shows that policing agencies are engaged in a variety of activities aimed at increasing support and confidence in areas of diverse populations (Peck, 2015;Pryce, 2018). The police recognize that positive police-community interactions are one avenue to gain support from any disaffected groups. ...
... Furthermore, research has delved into public perceptions about how the police treat different individuals and various groups of ethnicities (Kochel, 2019;Murphy and Mazerolle, 2018). Researchers have noted that individual's race has proven to be a powerful indicator of supportiveness towards criminal justice institutions (Peck, 2015;Pryce, 2018) Also, a respondent's race was often singled out as a significant predictor regarding perceptions of the police; minorities tend to rate the police less favourably than white respondents (Kahn and Martin, 2016;Slocum et al., 2016;Wolfe et al., 2016). One line of research into service delivery has examined the notions of support for the police by analysing confidence, beliefs about the quality of service, and overall satisfaction with policing (Weitzer, 2010). ...
Article
This research examines the influence of residential stability and resident’s interactions on participation in police block activity. Community engagement is one approach used by the police to increase the co-production of crime prevention by providing opportunities and engaging the community in group-level informal and voluntary activities. These optional activities are designed to promote a working relationship between the residents and the police. Multilevel ordinal logistic regression was run to estimate participation in police block activity, using the Seattle Neighborhood and Crime Survey data. The results demonstrate two things. First, this study extends the standard variables, used in examining voluntary involvement, to the frequency of participation in police block activity. Secondly, using interaction terms between residential stability and between residents’ interactions, the results suggest that between residents’ interaction may be a better predictor of frequent participation in police block activity than homeownership or length of residency. Finally, policy implications and future research avenues are discussed.
... The first contact a citizen is likely to make with the criminal justice system is with a police officer; this initial contact generally takes the form of a traffic stop . The extant literature generally shows that African Americans are less trusting of the police (gau & Brunson, 2015;Peck, 2015;Pryce & Chenane, 2021;Tuch & weitzer, 1997), and believe that legal authorities subject Blacks to greater punitive decisions (Hurwitz & Peffley, 2005;Johnson, 2007). This frayed relationship between the police and the Black community is exacerbated by highly publicized deaths of African American men, women, and youth 2 (Dowler & Zawilski, 2007;Peck, 2015). ...
... The extant literature generally shows that African Americans are less trusting of the police (gau & Brunson, 2015;Peck, 2015;Pryce & Chenane, 2021;Tuch & weitzer, 1997), and believe that legal authorities subject Blacks to greater punitive decisions (Hurwitz & Peffley, 2005;Johnson, 2007). This frayed relationship between the police and the Black community is exacerbated by highly publicized deaths of African American men, women, and youth 2 (Dowler & Zawilski, 2007;Peck, 2015). ...
Article
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The relationship between the police and African Americans has had a contentious history for decades. To explore this topic further, we interviewed 77 African Americans in the City of Durham, NC, about the declining relationship between their community and the police. We find that African Americans' perceptions of the police are nuanced and complicated by personal experiences, vicarious experiences of relatives and friends, and news from social media and television regarding policing practices and treatment, including police harassment and/or brutality. We characterize these direct and vicarious experiences as the transmission of trauma. Even for the proportion of African Americans who had positive perceptions and interactions with the police, their views of the police seemed to be further complicated by broader concerns of discriminatory treatment. We proffer solutions to improve the relationship between the police and African Americans. The implications of our findings for future research are also discussed.
... Research assessing attitudes toward the police have consistently found age Hadar & Snortum, 1975;Murphy & Worrall, 1999;Smith & Hawkins, 1973;Worrall, 1999), gender (Bridenball & Jesilow, 2008;Correia et al., 1996;Miller & Davis, 2008), and race (Carter, 1985;Peck, 2015;Reisig & Parks, 2000;Tyler, 2005;Weitzer & Tuch, 2005) to be significantly related to perceptions of the police. Collectively, this work has shown that younger persons, men, and members of minority groups, hold more negative attitudes toward the police than members of comparison groups-although the relationship between these demographic characteristics seems to be mediated by situational components surrounding the nature and type of police contact (i.e., voluntary or involuntary, police effort, communication, and assistance) (Reisig & Parks, 2000;Skogan, 2005). ...
... Research has found that members of ethnic minority groups, particularly African Americans, hold more negative perceptions of the police than members of other ethnic groups (Frank et al., 2005;Peck, 2015;Tyler, 2005;Weitzer & Tuch, 1999. Scholars have argued that these differences in attitudes are a product of systemic discrimination experienced at the hands of actors within the criminal justice system, such as disproportionate police violence (Tyler & Huo, 2002), excessive use of force (Fryer, 2019;Weitzer, 2002), and racial profiling (Reitzel & Piquero, 2006;Tyler & Wakslak, 2004;Weitzer & Tuch, 2002). ...
Article
Although policing scholars have discussed possible relationships between discrimination and perceptions of the police, assessing the impact of perceived cultural discrimination on perceptions of the police among immigrants is virtually non-existent and deserving of empirical scrutiny. The current study addresses this gap in the literature by examining the effect of perceived cultural discrimination on perceptions of the police using a sample of 1,272 married immigrant women living in South Korea. Our results show that perceived cultural discrimination is negatively and significantly associated with perceptions of the police, supporting the expressive nature of perceptions of the police among immigrants.
... Undoubtedly, the Ferguson shooting-along with others like it-and changes in policing practices have affected individuals' perceptions of and interactions with law enforcement in the community. Members of Black communities in particular have felt disproportionately targeted, treated unfairly, and treated more harshly by police (Peck, 2015). In turn, Black individuals have greater distrust of law enforcement overall (Tyler, 2005). ...
Chapter
The current chapter examines the impact of police on juror perceptions and decision making, both before and after Ferguson. I first review the existing literature examining the role of police in court, including police as witnesses and the effect of police and court legitimacy on jurors and jury deliberation. I then describe the events in Ferguson and the resulting national attention and rise of social movements, followed by a discussion of the effects of Ferguson and social media coverage on changing public attitudes toward and perceived legitimacy of the police. I also review how common police practices, such as testilying and the blue wall of silence, might further impact juror trust in police and legal institutions in the aftermath of Ferguson. I close the chapter with several policy recommendations and future research directions to address Ferguson’s impact on the courts and juries.
... Research from different contexts has also consistently shown disparities in the levels of trust and confidence that the public has in the police (Goldsmith, 2005;Macdonald & Stokes, 2006;Tyler, 2005;van Craen & Skogan, 2015). In general, some minority groups tend to view the police less favorably than whites do (Brown & Benedict, 2002;Peck, 2015). ...
Article
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The relationship between the police and African Americans has been beset by a lack of trust for decades. Improving this relationship is important to scholars, practitioners, and citizens; as a result, we examine in this study African Americans' trust and confidence in the police. Using trust questions found in the literature, we interviewed 77 African Americans in Durham, NC, to assess their views about the police. We found that for the police to earn the trust of African Americans, the police should treat African Americans equitably, invest in community policing, and respect African Americans. Although some respondents do not believe that their relationship with the police could be repaired, this is a small percentage of respondents, less than 5%.
... We found, at least compared to White respondents, this was indeed the case across three outcomes: Black respondents rated images of police as less respectful, less trustworthy and more aggressive. These findings are in line with previous research from both the UK and the US which have noted the consistently poorer perceptions of police from ethnic minorities; particularly, in the UK, from those of Black African or Caribbean descent (ONS, 2019;Peck, 2015). Our findings thus further highlight the continuing issues of trust and confidence in police among Black citizens, and underscore the need for research and policy to develop initiatives to address this confidence deficit. ...
Article
Ethnic minority officers continue to be underrepresented across UK police forces. Further, some ethnic minority groups consistently report lower levels of confidence in police compared to their White British counterparts. Although there is consensus that a more ethnically representative police service is a good idea, there is limited evidence in the UK on how the public perceives officers of different ethnic appearance, and how this relates to trust, confidence and legitimacy. This paper presents findings from an online experiment (n = 260) exploring how ethnic appearance affects perceptions of police. Our findings offer rare empirical support for a more ethnically representative police force. First, across respondents, we found that Black officers were perceived significantly more favourably than White or Asian officers. Second, we found that Black respondents had more negative responses to White officers, yet there was little evidence that Black officers elicited more negative reactions from White or Asian respondents. We discuss the theoretical and practical implications of the findings.
... As the gatekeepers of the criminal justice system, the police undertake vital government functions of law enforcement, order maintenance, and service, and rely heavily on support from the public to perform and achieve these functions. The past four decades have witnessed a considerable amount of research analyzing public perceptions of the police, and to a lesser extent, people's willingness to cooperate with or assist the police (Peck, 2015;Tyler and Fagan, 2008). This vein of literature has revealed a multitude of reasons that explain why some people are unwilling to cooperate with the police by reporting crime and providing crime-related information. ...
Article
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Objective Given the paucity of research on Chinese cooperation with the police and the underdevelopment of knowledge on the influence of surveillance videos on such cooperation, this study investigates the interplay of surveillance cameras and neighborhood collective efficacy, police fairness, and police effectiveness in shaping public willingness to cooperate with the police. Methods Relying on face‐to‐face survey interview data collected from 751 residents in a southern city in China, this study used Ordinary Least Squares (OLS) regression analysis to examine the key correlates of Chinese willingness to cooperate with the police. Results The results reveal positive influences of video surveillance, collective efficacy, police fairness, and police effectiveness on cooperative desires. Notably, the cooperation‐promoting effect of surveillance cameras is most profound among people who live in neighborhoods with high levels of collective efficacy and people who perceive low levels of police fairness. Conclusion These findings affirm that formal and informal social control interlock in determining the public's cooperative willingness, and reiterate the need for testing theoretical interactions. They also help us understand the underlying reasons that may explain the public's reliance on video surveillance to make their decisions about helping the police in the context of China.
... 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 and Holmes 2014;Terrill and Mastrofski 2002;, it is perhaps unsurprising that youth of color tend to perceive police more negatively than do White individuals (see Peck 2015;Fine and Cauffman 2015;Fine et al. 2019b;Unnever and Gabbidon 2015;Weitzer and 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
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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.
... Different population groups are targeted by the police in various ways and, thus, have different experiences and responses to law enforcement. Ethnicity, age, socio-economic background and neighbourhood are central in determining citizens' experiences of law enforcement and the juridical system (Brunson & Weitzer, 2009;Cochran et al., 2012;Peck, 2015). In particular, ethnic minorities in disadvantaged neighbourhoods experience incidences of procedural injustice (Carr et al., 2007;Fine et al., 2003;Gau & Brunson, 2015). ...
Article
Young men living in socially deprived areas are more likely to be exposed to criminal activity and extraordinary policing measures. This article focuses on the narratives of police encounters told by ethnic minority young men living in a deprived neighbourhood in Denmark, defined by the Danish government as a ‘ghetto’. In total, 76 young men and 6 young women (age 15 to 26) were interviewed between 2016 and 2017. The article focusses on their experiences of the police’s use of force, interpreted as violence by the participants. We have categorized their experiences into three types: unnecessary use of force, inconsistent violence, and humiliation/insults. While police violence is often understood as primarily physical, we also show that in the young people’s recollections of these incidences, issues of ‘moral violence’ becomes important. While not only specifically violating the body, this type of violence also affects the integrity and dignity of individuals. Our participants recounted forms of violence, which were extra-judicial in terms of physical use of force and they described how the police used indirect and degrading techniques of violence, some of which can be categorized as sexual harassment, embarrassment and public humiliation. From their perspectives, police power appeared unpredictable and illegible.
... 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
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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.
... In addition, although the distribution of the sample was similar to the region's demographic composition in terms of minority status, less than 20% of persons in the sample identified as racial minorities. As such, the results found here may be different than in studies conducted in areas characterized by more negative relationships and low levels of trust between police and community members, or among samples with more racial or ethnic minorities (some minority groups are more likely to have negative experiences with, and negative preexisting perceptions of, police; Cao, 2014;Peck, 2015). Another limitation of the study is that the response rate was low at just under 10%, but that rate is similar to rates found in other randomized control trials in this field (e.g., Mazerolle et al., 2013;PERF, 2017). ...
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.
... 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. ...
... 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.
... 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. ...
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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.
... 2014). Overall, however, there is evidence that Latino/as' views about the police occupy a middle ground in a racial hierarchy of police opinions (Peck 2015;Weitzer 2014;Weitzer and Tuch 2004). That is, policing attitudes among Latino/as, as an aggregate, are less positive than Whites but more positive than African Americans. ...
Article
Objectives Treatment by law enforcement officers, as representatives of the state that interact with individual citizens, may signal to individuals their political and social inclusion within society. Hispanics, as the largest minority group in the country that oftentimes must navigate two cultural identities, may be especially sensitive to the treatment of police. We test the group engagement model’s implication that procedural justice—or lack thereof—may promote or hinder attachment to the United States and/or Mexico among Latino/a adolescents and young adults. Methods Using a fixed effects panel design with a subsample of Mexican Americans from the Pathways to Desistance Study, we examine whether changes in subjective procedural justice evaluations of the police are related to changes in National identification. Results Changes in procedural justice perceptions are significantly related to changes in Mexican identification, whereas procedural justice is not related to changes in Anglo identification. Although, consistent with segmented assimilation theory, the relationships between changes in procedural justice and Mexican/Anglo identification may be stronger among participants born in the United States. Conclusions The findings are generally consistent with the group engagement model of procedural justice and suggest procedural injustice may alienate Hispanics.
... The literature depicts an overall positive public perception of the police. Prior research revealed that members within the African-American community had a negative attitude towards the police (Bradford et al., 2014;Peck, 2015). This research study results inferred a positive public perception of the police within the African-American community. ...
Article
This research study examined the effect of body-worn cameras on African American perceptions of police performance and fairness to gain a well-rounded understanding of the public's perception of body-worn cameras. Prior research involving police body-worn cameras focused on police use of force and community perceptions. Limitations within previous research call for further investigation into African American perceptions of the police and consider the role body-worn cameras play in affecting that perception. Using procedural justice theory, I focused on body-worn cameras and their effect on African-American perceptions of police performance and fairness. Employing a quantitative, non-experimental research design and surveying 124 African-American adult participants 18 years and older, I found that African-Americans favor police officers who wear body-worn cameras. Future research suggests incorporating a greater sample size, thereby strengthening the validity and improving generalizability. Policy implications suggest that studying body-worn cameras may add additional research to the knowledge base and help law enforcement understand the relationship between police officers who wear body-worn cameras and African-Americans perceptions of police treatment when body-worn cameras are present. Keywords: African-American, body-worn cameras, police performance, fairness, procedural justice
... Gender and political ideology appear to be secondary predictors of attitudes about militarization. Despite strong interracial differences in public opinion about the legitimacy, efficacy, and fairness of the police (Peck, 2015), the extant studies provide inconsistent evidence for a (nonspurious) relationship between race and attitudes toward police militarization. Much remains to be learned. ...
Article
Despite debates about the "material militarization" of the police, relatively little information on mass public opinion about police weapons, equipment, and gear currently exists. We analyze data from a national, opt-in panel of survey participants to assess public opinion regarding police use of 10 different types of weapons and equipment for use in confrontations with citizens. We find that public opinion defies easy classification into "militarized" versus "routine" equipment categories. Multivariate analyses indicate that perceptions of (a) police efficacy and (b) the frequency with which officers experience physical assaults on the job are the most consistent predictors of support for a range of weapons and gear, whereas perceptions of police misconduct and bias predict opposition to some types of tools. Partisan differences in attitudes between Democrats, Republicans, and Independents are less consistent predictors than broader perceptions about policing, but the effects of partisanship that are evident are substantively large.
... Similarly, Eaton and Stephens (2018) indicated that strong ties to cultural origin also acts as a protective factor for the Hispanic TDV victims. Finally, prior research also suggested that racial and ethnic minority youth have a pervasive mistrust towards the criminal justice system (Peck, 2015), which appears to impact their decisions to seek help from the police negatively. Indeed, Black (Black & Weisz, 2003) and Latinx (Ocampo et al., 2007) youth, in particular, indicated that they did not trust the police and would be reluctant to turn to them for support after experiencing TDV. ...
Article
Most teen dating violence (TDV) victims do not seek help after their victimization experience. While research has identified that victims are more likely to turn to informal versus formal sources, there is a lack of knowledge about what factors are predictive of help-seeking from formal sources. The current study explored the impact of incident and victim characteristics on help-seeking from formal sources among middle and high school TDV victims ( N = 2,174). Findings indicate that the severity and location of the victimization significantly increase the likelihood of help-seeking from formal sources.
... The second scale I adopted is the Perception of Police Scale (POPS hereafter), which is designed by Nadal and Davidoff (2015) to measure general attitudes toward police and perceptions of police bias. It has long been recognized that attitude toward law enforcement influences cooperation with the criminal justice system, especially among racial minorities (Brown & Reed, 2002;Huebner et al., 2004;Nadal et al., 2017;Peck, 2015;Slocum, 2018). A more positive attitude toward police is proved to facilitate better cooperation with the criminal justice system and compliance with the law (Bradford & Myhill, 2015;Tankebe, 2013;T. ...
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Objectives Bridging the power-relation framework with prejudice and bias studies, this study examines how individuals perceive and construct racial hate crimes. Methods This study employs a factorial survey experiment with randomized vignette assignments to obtain insights into respondents’ judgment principles. Participants (N = 2635) were recruited through Mechanical Turk and were asked to read a fictional scenario that could be considered a racial hate crime. Logistic regression models are estimated, followed by moderation analyses and margins tests. Results The results support an integrated model that both the power dynamics between the victims and the offenders and the prejudice and beliefs of the respondents play significant roles in perceiving a racial hate crime. Conclusions This study finds empirical evidence to establish a link between the status of incidents, respondents’ prejudice, and the perception of racial hate crimes. Future research will benefit from expanding the examination to other minority groups as well as to other bias motives.
... Relative to other demographic characteristics, a person's racial background has been one of the most consistent predictors of attitudes toward police. In general, existing research has largely focused on the experience of black individuals, showing that they have less favorable views of the police than white individuals (Dennison & Finkeldey, 2021;Kramer & Remster, 2018;Peck, 2015;Weitzer & Tuch, 2004;Wheelock et al., 2019). Moreover, Hispanic individuals' support for the police tends to be lower than that of white individuals yet higher than that of black individuals (Ekins, 2016). ...
Article
While investigations examining the effects of direct and vicarious police stops on youth attitudes toward the police have been limited, even less research has explored how these processes vary by race/ethnicity. Thus, this study uses the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS) to examine how race/ethnicity shapes: (1) the relationship between direct and vicarious police stops and youth attitudes toward police and (2) how the contextual nature of these stops (intrusiveness) influence youth perceptions of police. The results suggest that direct and/or vicarious police contact can generate negative attitudes toward police among black, Hispanic, and in some cases, white youth, though these effects vary across type of police stop and type of attitude. When a direct stop involved more officer intrusiveness, black youth reported less respect and more negative perceptions of procedural justice. As such, policymakers and criminologists should consider how race/ethnicity influences youth attitudinal responses to police encounters.
... White people generally endorse far higher trust in police, and the gap between White people's and Black people's trust in police is currently at an all-time high of 34% (Gallup, 2020). Research suggests that police bring feelings of safety to White people and people who live in wealthier neighborhoods (Peck, 2015;Schuck et al., 2008). Further, research suggests that White people have more positive interactions with police, view them more positively, and believe more strongly in their legitimacy (Schuck et al., 2008, Wu & Sun, 2009. ...
Article
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The dominant narrative in much of the world, but especially the West, is that public safety and security are provided by policing. Psychotherapy invests in this dominant narrative via its reliance on emergency services provided by the state, such as 911 and police, to pursue the safety of clients and the larger society. However, the long-documented history of oppressive systems of policing suggest that these dominant narratives operate to protect powerful groups while surveilling and policing marginalized people, but particularly Black and Brown communities. As such, critical and abolitionist movements have rejected the idea that policing provides safety and have sought out alternative methods for ensuring community wellness and safety. Although the field of psychology has broadly expressed interest in growing its critical lens and interrupting systems of power, very little has directly addressed how carceral logics influence psychotherapy practice, and how this influences the client's sense of safety in therapy. This manuscript argues for an abolitionist approach to informed consent and safety planning in psychotherapy to address the disparate ways that clients, and especially marginalized clients such as Black and Brown people, experience psychotherapy's traditional use of systems of policing and state authority. Clinical illustrations are provided and future directions are discussed. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2022 APA, all rights reserved).
... Sex was controlled for because more males than females become police officers (PERF, 2019). Race/ethnicity was controlled for because adolescents who are Black tend to report lower perceptions of police officers compared to Latinx individuals, who in turn tend to report worse perceptions than White adolescents (Fine et al., 2017;Peck, 2015). ...
Article
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Police departments are becoming increasingly homogenous as they struggle to recruit demographically diverse officers with desirable characteristics. Youths’ exposure to police brutality on social media may decrease their perceptions of police and interest in policing careers. Despite adolescents being the future pool of police applicants, social media’s relation to adolescents’ perceptions of police is understudied. Utilizing a stratified sampling approach to approximate representation of the U.S., this study analyzed how youths’ exposure to police content on social media was related to trust in the police and interest in police careers. The findings indicated that the more youth were exposed to negative social media on policing, the poorer they viewed police legitimacy, and the less they were willing to enter policing. Police legitimacy partially mediated the relation between adolescents’ exposure to social media content about police and their interest in policing careers. Implications for research, policy, and police behavior are discussed.
... Along with preexisting attitudes toward the police, juror race may also be related to decisions in a trial involving police UoF. In general, studies from the U.S. have demonstrated that racial and ethnic minorities 2 often perceive the police less favorably than do their White counterparts (e.g., 2014;Peck, 2015;Schuck et al., 2008). For example, Weitzer and Tuch (2005) found that Black and Hispanic participants reported significantly less satisfaction with local neighborhood police as compared to White participants. ...
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
It matters how people view the police—and that there is a substantial racial gap in these views. Research has primarily focused on police experiences to explain generally less-positive views among Black Americans. We recommend a subtle but vital shift in focus, seeking instead to explain the remarkably more favorable average views about the police among White Americans. Utilizing comparable data from two 2016 American National Election Studies surveys, we explore the role of contact with the police, politics, and three different dimensions of racial attitudes and views, finding views about the police among White Americans to be shaped in primary ways by concerns about Black Americans. These factors, and racial resentment in particular, explain a significant portion of the average difference in views of the police between Black and White Americans. We discuss the implications of this subtle shift in focus, particularly for work which sets positive views about the police as the goal.
Article
We sought to catalog ways in which law enforcement personnel (LEP) interact with sexual and gender minority (SGM) people and identify LEP behaviors associated with positive and negative SGM experiences. In Study 1, 160 SGM individuals from one community responded to open-ended survey questions in which they described positive and negative experiences with LEP. Qualitative content analysis yielded three categories of positive and six categories of negative characteristics of experiences with LEP. In Study 2, responses from Study 1 were used to develop a 30-item preliminary version of the INDIGO, an inventory of SGM people’s experiences with LEP; the preliminary INDIGO was piloted with 59 participants from selected communities in the nine US Census divisions to gain perspectives of SGM people in a diverse range of geographic and political environments. Participant feedback was used to add and revise inventory items. In Study 3, the revised 51-item INDIGO was tested with a national sample of 394 SGM people to assess characteristics of SGM people’s perceived positive and negative experiences with LEP. Among the most frequently endorsed LEP practices, 10 were significantly associated with positive experiences (e.g., shared information about the legal process) and 14 were significantly associated with negative experiences (e.g., rude, mean, or judgmental demeanor). Exploratory analyses identified four LEP practices that were reported more commonly by SGM people of color compared to White SGM participants. Comparisons of select INDIGO items to attitudes toward LEP items supported concurrent validity of the INDIGO. Implications for training and community policing are discussed.
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
Individuals’ perceptions of law enforcement officers and their actions are important for understanding personal criminality, police legitimacy, and legal cynicism. Race and ethnicity play a role in shaping these perceptions, however little work has been done to understand American Indian perceptions. We employ the General Social Survey to assess how American Indians compare to individuals of other races regarding their approval of police use of force. American Indians are less supportive of police use of force than whites. However, when compared to other people of color, American Indians are more supportive of use of force across five different police-citizen types of encounters. We conclude by examining the importance of considering different racial and ethnic views on legal authority.
Article
How does legal terminology affect our mental representations of police officers? In two experiments (N = 2001) with jury-eligible Americans, we examined the dual influence of social stratification and legal language on how Americans form judgments of police officers. We manipulated descriptions of officers—using laymen's terms or legal terms—and assessed how those descriptions differentially affected Americans' conceptions of officers. Officers described as “objectively reasonable” (a legal term) were judged less negatively and perceived as warmer and more competent than “average” officers or just “officers.” Further, effects of legal language were moderated by race and neighborhood context, consistent with racialized experiences in a stratified nation. Specifically, the priors of Black and white Americans in metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas differ significantly at baseline (i.e., in the control condition), but are brought in alignment—in favor of officers—when officers are described as “objectively reasonable.” We discuss the implications of these processes for both psychological theory and legal practice.
Article
Every year, most Black Americans report experiencing racial discrimination, which has been shown to have a variety of negative consequences. Aspects of racial identity, particularly holding a positive perception of one’s racial group (private regard), may buffer the impact of negative experiences including racial discrimination through differential coping strategy use. The current study (1) examined whether level of private regard impacted the type of coping strategies used across various forms of perceived experiences of racial discrimination and (2) tested for indirect pathways from perceived experiences of racial discrimination to different coping strategy use. Adults (N = 297) from the community who self-identified as Black American/African American completed several questionnaires on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk (MTurk). Four-fifths (80%) of participants reported racial discrimination at least once. Racial identity—particularly private regard—was positively associated with active coping strategy use. Furthermore, results from mediation models demonstrated racial identity was an important predictor of coping strategy use, suggesting high private regard has protective effects against racial discrimination. Worry was an especially robust mediator for pathways from racial discrimination to coping strategies. Altogether, results indicate a need for targeted interventions that promote the development of private regard and address worry about racial discrimination among Black American adults.
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Adolescents’ views of the legal system, just world beliefs, and moral emotions are interrelated and form an important frame of reference, particularly for young people involved in the juvenile justice system. Yet past scholarship has generally treated these as independent indices of youths’ experience. This study took a person-centered, latent profile approach to attitudes and beliefs among 136 male youth incarcerated within secure US juvenile facilities. Three heterogeneous profiles were found (negative attitudes/low emotion, moderate attitudes/mixed emotions, and positive attitudes/positive emotion) which were differentially associated with antisocial behavior. Youth who belonged to historically marginalized populations had significantly lower odds of belonging to a protective profile characterized by positive legal attitudes, just world beliefs, and emotions (positive attitudes/positive emotion). Findings highlight our gaps in understanding young people’s experiences with legal and judicial entities and illustrate significant heterogeneity in youth’s frame of reference within the juvenile justice system.
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Why are Americans so divided on guns policies? We examine this question within the context of the campus carry debate—whether people should be allowed to carry concealed firearms on college campuses. Our central thesis is that a basic psychological need—the need to feel safe—underlies both support for and opposition to policies such as campus carry. Importantly, whereas some people perceive guns as a source of safety, others perceive guns as a threat to safety. In this chapter we discuss evidence demonstrating how these opposing perceptions correspond with support for campus carry legislation and with a variety of other attitudes, beliefs, and expectations regarding the consequences of legalizing campus carry. We also discuss how examining opposing views on guns in terms of the need for safety reframes the gun debate and suggests new approaches to building understanding and compromise across the gun divide. Ultimately, this re-framing may inform policies to reduce gun violence in the United States. Finally, we discuss the broader policy implications of this framing of the gun debate and stress the importance of considering the safety needs of all people, not simply one group or the other, when crafting legislation to address gun violence.
Chapter
Survey methodologists are familiar with the use of experiments to show how variations in question wording and survey design can affect people’s expressed opinions, but what does it mean when respondents’ answers do not significantly differ across experimental groups? In this chapter, we draw upon theory from sociology and political science to argue that null results can tell us just as much about public opinion as statistically significant findings. We analyze data from a survey experiment that tested the effect of exposure to news images of police-civilian interactions, depicting a range of interactions from benign to hostile in nature, on public opinion about the police. We find that image exposure did not significantly affect opinion. We interpret this null finding as evidence that people’s opinions about the police tap into fundamental beliefs and anxieties about the state of society, and due to their basis in emotion and values, these opinions are easier for people to form than opinions about more abstract or complicated public policies. According to framing theorists, “easy issues” are relatively immune to manipulation by the media, political elites, or pollsters.
Article
While a significant amount of research has been conducted in regards to public opinion of police, limited information can be found that reflects college students' opinions toward the subject, and even fewer studies have specifically used students on a college campus as a sample to study such opinions. The majority of past research focuses on low-income minorities who live in transitional neighborhoods and those who typically harbor the most negative views of the police in the United States. The questions this study attempted to answer were, "Are there certain demographic and social factors that can predict negative views toward police?" "If so, do these factors differ from or continue to confirm the results presented in past studies?" This study, through the use of questionnaire survey research, seeks to determine if a broader demographic of individuals, particularly college students, might be dissatisfied with police in present times, in light of the recent events regarding police use of force, what some may call police brutality, hostility, and unprofessionalism. The dependent factor was the respondents' views toward police. A two-part questionnaire survey was distributed to a sample of 323 students at a mid-size university in a southwestern state, and the data obtained from the surveys were analyzed to determine what additional demographic variables may be significant in the explanation of negative attitudes toward the police. Race and ethnicity remained a significant variable and "single" was found to be an unusual significant variable that was seldom used in prior research.
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Law enforcement is still considered a male dominated occupation resulting in the underrepresentation of women in sworn personnel positions. While it is critical for police departments to have a more representative police force, there is a lack of research on the factors that affect the likelihood of women entering policing. Past studies suggest that men and women have similar reasons for joining policing. However, research on the factors that deter potential candidates from pursuing this career path is limited. This paper examines factors that may affect the likelihood of women pursuing a career in policing. We rely on data collected from a sample of undergraduate students enrolled in criminal justice courses (n = 421). Our results show that, relative to men, women are less likely to be interested in pursuing a career as a police officer. However, more than half of the women in our sample reported interest in pursuing a career in policing. We find that for men and women, the likelihood for pursuing a career in policing was affected by a number of personal characteristics and the current socio-political climate. While a notable limitation of our study is its limited generalizability, overall, our findings offer some promise for the potential of representative policing.
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This chapter explores the challenges and potentials of police co-commissioning with ethnic minority associations from disadvantaged neighbourhoods, a form of co-production rarely found in the literature. Data stem from extensive field studies of community ‘dialogue meetings’ between the Danish police and local ethnic minority associations, where the citizens as ‘experts by experience’ and the police as conventional experts on policing meet in order to identify and prioritise future policing efforts to enhance community safety. The authors draw on both the co-production literature on co-commissioning and criminological literature on procedural justice and police performance and argue that a better understanding of how residents in these areas communicate with and perceive the police as a public authority can help create a better social platform for future co-production.
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While there is substantial research on community-police relations, most studies examine the abstract outcome of "negative perceptions of police." This study, however, examines over-and under-policing as two distinct, yet not mutually exclusive, constructs, suggesting that there is more to strained police-community relations than citizens perceiving the police "negatively." Using the Project on Human Development in Chicago Neighborhoods Community Survey, we assess the relationship between race and ethnicity and perceptions of over-and under-policing and explore how these associations are conditioned by neighborhood characteristics. Results reveal racialized perceptions of over-and underpolicing. Furthermore, while levels of both under-and over-policing vary across neighborhoods, the relationship between these outcomes and individual-level race/ethnicity was robust. Implications for policy and research are discussed.
Article
Purpose Recent publicized incidents involving police and youth, particularly minorities, may undermine attitudes toward police. This research examines the effect of race/ethnicity on youth attitudes toward police in two contexts. Design/methodology/approach This study utilizes survey data from 17,000 youth in California aggregated with data on poverty and crime. Hierarchical linear modeling (HLM) is used to examine the effects of individual and structural factors on perceptions of the police in the community and in school. Findings Race/ethnicity is related to perceptions of police in both contexts even after accounting for structural factors, with Blacks and Hispanics having less positive perceptions than Whites and Asians. Differences in perceptions between racial/ethnic groups were larger for police in the community than school police. Structural factors were associated with perceptions of police in the community but not at school. Originality/value This study differs from much of the previous literature examining race and attitudes toward police, which has largely focused on adults. The current study examines youth attitudes toward the police in two separate contexts and considers the influence of structural factors.
Article
The racial gradient hypothesis of comparative conflict theory predicts Black people perceive the greatest social injustices, followed by Latinx and white people, respectively. This study used nationally representative data collected prior to George Zimmerman’s arrest to examine whether racial groups (Black, Latinx, white) differed in their perceptions that Zimmerman was guilty of a crime against Trayvon Martin. Logistic regression results revealed Black participants were 98% more likely than white participants to perceive Zimmerman as guilty. Latinx perceptions of Zimmerman’s guilt did not significantly differ from those of Black or white participants. Findings suggest some Latinx individuals may not fully appreciate how the same U.S. racial hierarchy that harms Latinx communities also works to produce anti-Black violence.
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The role of contact with the child welfare system (CWS) in legal socialization is not well understood. This is particularly true of youth who have contact with both the juvenile justice system and the CWS, known as dual system (DS) youth. Furthermore, much of the legal socialization research excludes Latinx youth, for whom legal socialization may function differently. Is CWS contact, compared to—and in addition to—juvenile justice system contact, associated with Latinx youths’ attitudes toward police and judges? The present study addresses this research question among a sample of 417 Latinx youth who had been arrested for the first time, 74 of whom were DS youth. Results indicated that DS youth perceive police as less biased, and both police and judges as more legitimate, than their juvenile justice system‐only counterparts. CWS contact was not associated with perceptions of situational procedural justice for police or judges, suggesting that CWS contact colors general attitudes toward legal actors’ bias and legitimacy, but not specific interactions with legal actors. The results suggest that CWS contact, above and beyond juvenile justice system contact, has a nuanced impact on children's legal socialization.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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This paper reports the results of a study using a phenomenological method. The study investigates two questions: (1) what are African‐Americans’ perceptions of the police following contact with a police officer, and (2) what are the qualities that African‐Americans think are important for police officers to possess. Data were gathered through semi‐structured interviews over a three‐month period with 32 African‐American participants. The findings suggest that African‐Americans viewed a positive contact with the police when the officer utilized human relations traits such as cultural sensitivity, empathy, and fairness. The qualities deemed important by African‐Americans for a police officer to possess were congruent with human relations qualities. The implications for police practice and research are discussed.
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One of the most controversial issues in policing concerns allegations of racial bias. This article examines citizens' perceptions of racialized policing in three neighborhoods in Washington, D.C., that vary by racial composition and class position: a middle-class white community, a middle-class black community, and a lower-class black community. In-depth interviews examined residents' perceptions of differential police treatment of individual blacks and whites in Washington and disparate police practices in black and white neighborhoods. Findings indicate, first, that there is substantial agreement across the communities in the belief that police treat blacks and whites differerently; and secondly, there is racial variation in respondents' explanations for racial disparities. On the question of residents' assessments of police relations with their own community relative to other-race communities, a neighborhood difference is found, with the black middle-class neighborhood standing apart from the other two neighborhoods.
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Since the 1960s, a substantial body of research has focused on citizens' attitudes toward the police. These studies tap a rather wide variety of outlooks: some ask about specific assessments of the police (e.g., satisfaction with the police in particular incidents), while others ask about more global assessments (e.g., satisfaction with the police in general, police in the community, or police in the neighborhood). Using data obtained through a panel survey of 398 residents of a large midwestern city, we compare specific assessments of police performance with more global attitudes toward the police. We also examine the effects of global and specific attitudes on one another. The results show that the two measures produce similar levels of support for the police. The results reveal further that global attitudes have substantial effects on specific assessments of police performance, and that the effects of specific assessments of police performance on global attitudes are modest by comparison.
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Past studies of juveniles' attitudes toward the police suggest a single-cause model that implicates personal interactions with the police. We propose that attitudes toward authority and agents of social control develop in a larger, sociocultural context. Specifically we hypothesize that juveniles' attitudes develop as a function of socialization in their communities' social environment, of their deviant subcultural “preferences,” and of the prior effect of these sociocultural factors on juveniles' contacts with the police. We conducted analyses addressing these hypotheses with a population of males sampled within stratified populations of known delinquents. We found that social background variables, particularly minority status, and subcultural preferences, particularly commitment to delinquent norms, affected juveniles' attitudes toward the police both directly and indirectly (through police-juvenile interactions). We consider directions for improving police relations with juveniles in the context of apparent sociocultural and experiential contingencies to attitude development.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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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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.
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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.
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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.
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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
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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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.