The Consequence of Being a Target of Suspicion: Potential Pitfalls of Proactive Policing
66 Pages Posted: 21 Jul 2014
Date Written: July 20, 2014
During the latter half of the 20th century a new model of policing developed in the United States which continues to dominate American policing today. It has two key features. First, it proactively attempts to prevent crime through the widespread use of police stops and arrests for minor crimes. Second, it imposes policing policies and practices upon communities instrumentally via the threat or use of various legal sanctions. Data from a national survey indicate that this approach to policing does not lower fear of crime; increase the perceived risk of punishment for rule breaking; or strongly impact perceptions of disorder. On the other hand, it has damaged the social bonds between the police and the community; undermined police legitimacy and led to declines in public willingness to cooperate with the police. This paper examines how such policies developed, why they are problematic, and how a focus on building popular legitimacy would be more desirable.
Keywords: policing; trust; broken windows; zero tolerance; stop; question and frisk
JEL Classification: K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation