Do the ends justify the means? Policing and Rights Tradeoffs in New York City
45 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2018 Last revised: 6 Aug 2018
Date Written: August 5, 2018
Policing is an integral component of urban life. New models of proactive policing may prevent crime; however, the frequent intrusive police contacts involved have strained police-community relations. The burdens of proactive policing often fall on African American and Latino communities, with only small returns to crime control and high risks of non-productive interactions. Citizens are often asked to accept these invasive tactics as a necessary means to the end of improved public safety. This paper examines the willingness of New York City residents to engage in “rights tradeoffs” and sacrifice their civil liberties for public safety. Data from a telephone survey (N= 960) suggest little openness to rights tradeoffs tied to perceived neighborhood danger. However, respondents who see the police as legitimate are more likely to support such tradeoffs. Results suggest that calls for intrusive policing in order to improve neighborhood safety are unrelated to respondents’ perceptions of neighborhood safety.
Keywords: Police, Civil Liberties, Legitimacy, Survey Research
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