Mapping Attitudes Towards the Police at Micro Places

45 Pages Posted: 4 Dec 2017 Last revised: 29 May 2018

See all articles by Andrew Wheeler

Andrew Wheeler

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences

Jasmine Silver

State University of New York (SUNY) - School of Criminal Justice

Robert Worden

John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety; SUNY University at Albany

Sarah McLean

John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety

Date Written: November 29, 2017

Abstract

Objectives: We demonstrate the utility of mapping community satisfaction with the police at micro places using data from citizen surveys conducted in 2001, 2009 and 2014 in one city.

Methods: In each survey, respondents provided the nearest intersection to their address. Using that geocoded survey data, we use inverse distance weighting to map a smooth surface of satisfaction with police over the entire city. We use spatial and multi-level regression models to estimate the effect of local violent crimes on attitudes towards police, controlling for other individual and neighborhood level characteristics.

Results: We demonstrate that there are no systematic biases for respondents refusing to answer the nearest intersection question. We show that hot spots of dissatisfaction with police do not conform to census tract boundaries, but rather align closely with hot spots of crime. Models predicting satisfaction with police show that local counts of violent crime are a strong predictor of attitudes towards police, even above individual level predictors of race and age.

Conclusions: Asking survey respondents to provide the nearest intersection to where they live is a simple approach to mapping attitudes towards police at micro places. This both provides more specific locations police may target interventions, as well as a theoretically important influence (violent crimes nearby) that impact attitudes toward the police.

Keywords: Micro Places, Legitimacy, Satisfaction with Police, Attitudes, Mapping

Suggested Citation

Wheeler, Andrew and Silver, Jasmine and Worden, Robert and McLean, Sarah, Mapping Attitudes Towards the Police at Micro Places (November 29, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3079674 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3079674

Andrew Wheeler (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences ( email )

P.O. Box 830688, GR 31
Richardson, TX 75083
United States

Jasmine Silver

State University of New York (SUNY) - School of Criminal Justice ( email )

Draper 219
1400 Washington Ave.
Albany, NY 12222
United States

Robert Worden

John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety ( email )

423 New Karner Rd
Albany, NY 12205
United States

SUNY University at Albany ( email )

1400 Washington Avenue
Building, Room 109
Albany, NY 12222
United States

Sarah McLean

John F. Finn Institute for Public Safety ( email )

423 New Karner Rd
Albany, NY 12205
United States

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