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An experimental approach analyzing who sees disorder when there is nothing to see: understanding variance of perceptions via personal characteristics

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Knowing that disorder is related to crime, it has become essential for criminologists to understand how and why certain individuals perceive disorder. Using data from the Perceptions of Neighborhood Disorder

Knowing that disorder is related to crime, it has become essential for criminologists to understand how and why certain individuals perceive disorder. Using data from the Perceptions of Neighborhood Disorder and Interpersonal Conflict Project, this study uses a fixed photograph of a neighborhood, to assess whether individuals "see" disorder cues. A final sample size of n=815 respondents were asked to indicate if they saw particular disorder cues in the photograph. The results show that certain personal characteristics do predict whether an individual sees disorder. Because of the experimental design, results are a product of the individual's personal characteristics, not of the respondent's neighborhood. These findings suggest that the perception of disorder is not as clear cut as once thought. Future research should explore what about these personal characteristics foster the perception of disorder when it is not present, as well as, how to fight disorder in neighborhoods when perception plays such a substantial role.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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The effects of crime incident characteristics and neighborhood structure on police response time

Description

Effectiveness and efficiency of the police have been contentious topics from the public perspective. Police departments have developed policies to help better their patrol officers' effectiveness on the streets in

Effectiveness and efficiency of the police have been contentious topics from the public perspective. Police departments have developed policies to help better their patrol officers' effectiveness on the streets in both quality and timeliness. Although there have been few recent studies about the response time of officers to calls for service, this is a subject that should not go overlooked. As an important aspect to the patrol officer's repertoire, response time can have effects on the community and its perception on the police. This study uses a multi-level modeling approach to examine the effects of incident and neighborhood factors on police response time within a medium size Southwest city. Police departments use a scale to determine the priority of a call for service, commonly referred to as the PRI. This index scale was found to have the most effect on the response times, while a few cyclical patterns were obtained of level 1 variables. Neighborhood characteristics showed significant effects, measuring structural disadvantage, however, caution should be used in generalizing these findings to other public jurisdictions.

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Date Created
  • 2012

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The unemployment-crime relationship revisited: do neighborhoods matter?

Description

Although much has been done to examine the relationship between unemployment and crime, little consideration has been given to the impact neighborhood-level factors such as informal social control may have

Although much has been done to examine the relationship between unemployment and crime, little consideration has been given to the impact neighborhood-level factors such as informal social control may have on the strength of unemployment as a predictor of crime. The present study seeks to fill this gap by assessing whether the declining crime rates over a period of surging unemployment under the financial crisis are due to unchanged levels of informal social control. To examine these relationships, the present study utilizes data from Uniform Crime Reports (UCR), calls for service to the police, and the United States Census and American Community Survey. These data are longitudinal in nature covering the period 2007-2011 and are all related to Glendale, Arizona. The results indicate that the financial crisis predicts lower rates of property crimes as well as lower rates of calls for service relative to UCR crimes. Additionally, the present study finds that unemployment is a significant predictor of increases in UCR property crime, UCR violent crime, and engagement in each of my measures of informal social control.

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  • 2016

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The effects of police effectiveness on neighborhood attachment

Description

Individuals with high levels of neighborhood attachment provide a multitude of positive factors to neighborhoods. Research has demonstrated that increases in informal social controls, maintaining a well-kept area, and positive

Individuals with high levels of neighborhood attachment provide a multitude of positive factors to neighborhoods. Research has demonstrated that increases in informal social controls, maintaining a well-kept area, and positive social ties are improved with higher levels of neighborhood attachment. Identifying the factors that lead to higher levels of neighborhood attachment has thus become an area in the literature that scholars have frequently studied. One aspect of neighborhood life that has been neglected in research is the role of police on neighborhood attachment. This study addresses the gap by exploring the role of police in influencing levels of neighborhood attachment. Data from the Seattle Neighborhood and Crime Survey are used to examine perceptions of police effectiveness on overall levels of neighborhood attachment, and the three different sub-concepts of neighborhood attachment. Results demonstrated that perceptions of police effectiveness had a positive relationship on all forms of neighborhood attachment. Suggestions for the roles of police in developing neighborhood attachment will be discussed, as well as the theoretical applications for future testing of neighborhood attachment. This study demonstrates the influence of police on daily neighborhood life.

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Date Created
  • 2016

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Examining Variation in Police Discretion: The Impact of Context and Body-Worn Cameras on Officer Behavior

Description

Discretion is central to policing. The way officers use their discretion is influenced by situational, officer, and neighborhood-level factors. Concerns that discretion could be used differentially across neighborhoods have resulted

Discretion is central to policing. The way officers use their discretion is influenced by situational, officer, and neighborhood-level factors. Concerns that discretion could be used differentially across neighborhoods have resulted in calls for increased police transparency and accountability. Body-worn cameras (BWCs) have been promoted to further these goals through increasing oversight of police-citizen encounters. The implication is that BWCs will increase officer self-awareness and result in more equitable outcomes. Prior researchers have largely evaluated the direct impact of BWCs. Researchers have yet to examine the potential for BWCs to moderate the influence of neighborhood context in individual incidents.

To address this gap, I use Phoenix Police Department data collected as part of a three-year randomized-controlled trial of BWCs to examine variation in police discretion. These data include over 1.5 million police-citizen contacts nested within 826 officers and 388 neighborhoods. I examine two research questions. First, how do proactivity, arrests, and use of force vary depending on situational, officer, and neighborhood contexts? This provides a baseline for my next research question. Second, examining the same contexts and outcomes, do BWCs moderate the influence of neighborhood factors on police behavior? As such, I examine the untested, though heavily promoted, argument that BWCs will reduce the influence of extralegal factors on officer behavior.

Using cross-classified logistic regression models, I found that situational, officer, and neighborhood factors all influenced proactivity, arrest, and use of force. BWCs were associated with a lower likelihood of proactivity, but an increased likelihood of arrest and use of force. Officers were more proactive and were more likely to conduct arrests in immigrant and Hispanic neighborhoods. The moderating effects suggest that officers were even more likely to proactively initiate contacts and conduct arrests in immigrant and Hispanic neighborhoods when BWCs were activated. However, after BWCs were deployed, use of force was significantly less likely to occur in black neighborhoods. Given that high-profile police use of force incidents involving black suspects are often cited as a major impetus for the adoption of BWCs in American police agencies, this finding is a key contribution to the literature.

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  • 2020