Matching Items (8)

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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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Created

Date Created
  • 2020

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An examination of the relationship between gang membership and hopelessness

Description

The literature on hopelessness suggests youth living amid impoverished conditions, social disorganization, and limited resources are more likely to experience increased feelings of hopelessness. Similarly, many of the aforementioned aspects

The literature on hopelessness suggests youth living amid impoverished conditions, social disorganization, and limited resources are more likely to experience increased feelings of hopelessness. Similarly, many of the aforementioned aspects are considered, in some capacity, in the research on gangs. Though a considerable amount of gang literature alludes to the fact that loss of hope may be present, it neither directly addresses it nor references it. This study attempts to converge the present literature on hopelessness among minority youth to minority youth in street gangs. This is done using data obtained from an earlier evaluation of the Mesa Gang Intervention Project, using self-report data from 197 youth, asking questions about socio-demographic information, gang activity, education, employment, crime and delinquency, family and individual crisis, and self-reported detention. Findings implicate a connection exists between gang membership and increased levels of hopelessness. Moreover, results suggest education and self-esteem help to reduce loss of hopelessness.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Hispanics’ and Undocumented Immigrants’ Perceptions of Procedural Justice, Legitimacy, and Willingness to Cooperate with the Police: An Assessment of the Process-Based Model of Policing

Description

The role of the American police is to work for and with the communities they serve. The relationship between police and community, however, has not always been a positive one.

The role of the American police is to work for and with the communities they serve. The relationship between police and community, however, has not always been a positive one. In recent decades, police organizations throughout the United States have attempted various approaches to addressing the problem. Most recently, they have been focused on improving that relationship by enhancing their legitimacy. This practice is commonly known as the process-based model of policing: theoretically, a procedurally just interaction will enhance legitimacy, which in turn will enhance willingness to cooperate with the police. The benefit for police agencies in enhancing legitimacy lies in the idea that when the police are perceived as a legitimate entity, the public will be more likely to cooperate with them. Enhancing police legitimacy also offers benefits for the public, as this is preceded by a procedurally just interaction.

The goal of this dissertation is to assess the applicability of the process-based model of policing to an under-studied population: Hispanics and undocumented immigrants residing within Maricopa County, Arizona. The analysis for this dissertation uses data from two different sources: a sample of Maricopa County residents (n=854) and a sample of Maricopa County arrestees (n=2268). These data are used to assess three research questions. The first research question focuses on assessing the applicability of the process-based model of regulation as a theoretical framework to study this population. The second research question compares Hispanic and White respondents’ views of procedural justice, police legitimacy, and how these perceptions relate to their willingness to cooperate with the police. The last research question examines the differences between undocumented immigrants’ and U.S. citizens’ perceptions of procedural justice, police legitimacy, and how these perceptions relate to their willingness to cooperate with the police. In doing so, this study examined the convergent and discriminant validity of key theoretical constructs. Among several notable findings, the results show that the process-based model of regulation is a promising framework within which to assess perceptions of the police. However, the framework was only supported by the sample of arrestees. Implications for theory, practice, and suggestions for future research are discussed.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2017

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Examining gang social network structure and criminal behavior

Description

The current study examines the social structure of local street gangs in Glendale, Arizona. Literature on gang organization has come to different conclusions about gang organization, largely based on the

The current study examines the social structure of local street gangs in Glendale, Arizona. Literature on gang organization has come to different conclusions about gang organization, largely based on the methodology used. One consistent finding from qualitative gang research has been that understanding the social connections between gang members is important for understanding how gangs are organized. The current study examines gang social structure by recreating gang social networks using official police data. Data on documented gang members, arrest records, and field interview cards from a 5-year period from 2006 to 2010 were used. Yearly social networks were constructed going two steps out from documented gang members. The findings indicated that gang networks had high turnover and they consisted of small subgroups. Further, the position of the gang member or associate was a significant predictor of arrest, specifically for those who had high betweenness centrality. At the group level, density and measures of centralization were not predictive of group-level behavior; hybrid groups were more likely to be involved in criminal behavior, however. The implications of these findings for both theory and policy are discussed.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Examining the relationship between immigration status and criminal involvement: do illegal immigrants commit more crime?

Description

A perceived link between illegal immigration and crime continues to exist. Citizens continue to believe that immigration creates crime and fear that as the immigrant population grows, their safety is

A perceived link between illegal immigration and crime continues to exist. Citizens continue to believe that immigration creates crime and fear that as the immigrant population grows, their safety is jeopardized. Not much research in the field of criminology, however, has focused on examining this perceived relationship between immigration and crime. Those studies which have examined the relationship have mainly relied on official data to conduct their analysis. The purpose of this thesis is to examine the relationship between immigration and crime by examining self report data as well as some official data on immigration status and criminal involvement. More specifically, this thesis examines the relationship between immigration status and four different types of criminal involvement; property crimes, violent crimes, drug sales, and drug use. Data from a sample of 1,990 arrestees in the Maricopa County, Arizona, was used to conduct this analysis. This data was collected through the Arizona Arrestee Reporting Information Network over the course of a year. The results of the logistic regression models indicate that immigrants tend to commit less crime than U.S. citizens. Furthermore, illegal immigrants are significantly less likely than U.S. citizens to commit any of the four types of crimes, with the exception of powder cocaine use.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011

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Cops, culture, and context: the integration of structural and cultural elements for explanations of police use of force

Description

This dissertation integrates concepts from three bodies of literature: police use of force, neighborhood/ecological influence on police, and police culture. Prior research has generally found that neighborhood context affects

This dissertation integrates concepts from three bodies of literature: police use of force, neighborhood/ecological influence on police, and police culture. Prior research has generally found that neighborhood context affects police use of force. While scholars have applied social disorganization theory to understand why neighborhood context might influence use of force, much of this theorizing and subsequent empirical research has focused exclusively on structural characteristics of an area, such as economic disadvantage, crime rates, and population demographics. This exclusive focus has occurred despite the fact that culture was once an important component of social disorganization theory in addition to structural factors. Moreover, the majority of the theorizing and subsequent research on police culture has neglected the potential influence that neighborhood context might have on officers’ occupational outlooks. The purpose of this dissertation is to merge the structural and cultural elements of social disorganization theory in order to shed light on the development and maintenance of police officer culture as well as to further specify the relationship between neighborhood context and police use of force. Using data from the Project on Policing Neighborhoods (POPN), I address three interrelated research questions: 1) does variation of structural characteristics at the patrol beat level, such as concentrated disadvantage, homicide rates, and the percentage of minority citizens, predict how an officer views his/her occupational outlook (i.e., culture)?; 2) do officers who work in the same patrol beats share a similar occupational outlook (i.e., culture) or is there variation?; and 3) does the inclusion of police culture at the officer level moderate the relationship between patrol beat context and police use of force? Findings suggest that a patrol beat’s degree of concentrated disadvantage and homicide rate slightly influence officer culture at the individual level. Results show mixed evidence of a patrol beat culture. There is little support for the idea that characteristics of the patrol beat and individual officer culture interact to influence police use of force. I conclude with a detailed discussion of the methodological, theoretical, and policy implications as well as limitations and directions for future research.

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Created

Date Created
  • 2016

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A case study of the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act: reforming the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections

Description

Research examining the long-term impacts of federal interventions under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act on correctional institutions has been scant. The result has been a failure to understand

Research examining the long-term impacts of federal interventions under the Civil Rights of Institutionalized Persons Act on correctional institutions has been scant. The result has been a failure to understand the sustainability of reforms aimed at protecting the civil rights of confined persons. This dissertation examined the long-term reforms at the Arizona Department of Juvenile Corrections following a consent decree with the U.S. Department of Justice from 2004 to 2007. Interviews were conducted with current and former ADJC employees, juvenile justice advocates across Arizona, and county court representatives to determine how each of these groups perceived the status of the reforms at the ADJC. The findings of the current dissertation suggest that long-term reforms following consent decrees imposed on correctional institutions are possible. At the ADJC, the methods for securing the reform required that the agency reform its culture, implement a Quality Assurance process, revamp the Investigations and Inspections unit at the agency, and consider the perspectives of external agencies. One of the primary reasons why the department has been committed to making these reforms is because of the perceived loss of legitimacy and resources that would occur if they failed to reform. Such a failure for the agency could have potentially resulted in a closure of the agency. However, the increase in punitive and preventive policies used to enforce the reforms may have negative repercussions on the organizational culture in the long term. Policy implications for future CRIPA consent decrees are outlined, limitations are addressed, and suggestions for future research are made.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2013

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Moving towards a quantitative understanding of Thrasher's threat-cohesion hypothesis

Description

Frederic Thrasher's early work with youth gangs in Chicago continues to influence contemporary gang research. Thrasher's basic premise, that conflict with outside groups facilitates strong interpersonal ties between adolescents, has

Frederic Thrasher's early work with youth gangs in Chicago continues to influence contemporary gang research. Thrasher's basic premise, that conflict with outside groups facilitates strong interpersonal ties between adolescents, has yet to undergo quantitative analysis. Using data from Wave II of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health ("Add Health"), this conflict is measured by the aggregate number of juvenile arrests for property and violent crimes in a community. Multivariate regression is conducted to explore the impact of police threat on number of friendship nominations, while logistic regression is conducted to see if police threat is impacting relationship strength between respondent's first male and female friend. The results from both the multivariate and logistic regressions do not support Thrasher's hypothesis. Implications for future research are discussed.

Contributors

Agent

Created

Date Created
  • 2011