Policing, Crime and Legitimacy in New York and Los Angeles: The Social and Political Contexts of Two Historic Crime Declines

59 Pages Posted: 22 Aug 2012

See all articles by Jeffrey Fagan

Jeffrey Fagan

Columbia Law School

John MacDonald

University of Pennsylvania

Date Written: August 21, 2012

Abstract

The relationship between citizens and police occupies a central place both in urban politics and in the political economy of cities. In this respect, for nearly 50 years, New York and Los Angeles have been bellwethers for many of the nation’s larger cities. In each city, as in cities across the world, citizens look to police to protect them from crime, maintain social order, respond to a variety of extra-legal community concerns, and reinforce the moral order of the law by apprehending offenders and helping bring them to justice (Reiss, 1971; Black, 1980; Skogan and Frydl, 2004). Beyond enforcing social and political order, the police are the front line representatives of a variety of social service needs in communities (Walker, 1992). Accordingly, policing is an amenity of urban places that shapes how citizens regard their neighborhood and their city, and in turn, the extent to which citizens see their local institutions as responsive and reliable (Skogan, 2006). Effective and sustainable governance, especially when it comes to public safety, depends on the capacity of the institutions of criminal justice to provide “value” that leverages legitimacy and cooperation among its citizens (Moore et al., 2002; Skogan and Frydl, 2004; Tyler and Fagan, 2008; Tyler, 2010).

Suggested Citation

Fagan, Jeffrey and MacDonald, John, Policing, Crime and Legitimacy in New York and Los Angeles: The Social and Political Contexts of Two Historic Crime Declines (August 21, 2012). Columbia Public Law Research Paper No. 12-315. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2133487 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2133487

Jeffrey Fagan (Contact Author)

Columbia Law School ( email )

435 West 116th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States
212-854-2624 (Phone)
212-854-7946 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.columbia.edu/fac/Jeffrey_Fagan

John MacDonald

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

483 McNeil Building
3718 Locust Walk
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-646-3623 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.crim.upenn.edu/faculty_macdonald.htm

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
348
rank
82,413
Abstract Views
1,353
PlumX Metrics