The criminogenic and psychological effects of police stops on adolescent black and Latino boys.
ABSTRACT: Proactive policing, the strategic targeting of people or places to prevent crimes, is a well-studied tactic that is ubiquitous in modern law enforcement. A 2017 National Academies of Sciences report reviewed existing literature, entrenched in deterrence theory, and found evidence that proactive policing strategies can reduce crime. The existing literature, however, does not explore what the short and long-term effects of police contact are for young people who are subjected to high rates of contact with law enforcement as a result of proactive policing. Using four waves of longitudinal survey data from a sample of predominantly black and Latino boys in ninth and tenth grades, we find that adolescent boys who are stopped by police report more frequent engagement in delinquent behavior 6, 12, and 18 months later, independent of prior delinquency, a finding that is consistent with labeling and life course theories. We also find that psychological distress partially mediates this relationship, consistent with the often stated, but rarely measured, mechanism for adolescent criminality hypothesized by general strain theory. These findings advance the scientific understanding of crime and adolescent development while also raising policy questions about the efficacy of routine police stops of black and Latino youth. Police stops predict decrements in adolescents' psychological well-being and may unintentionally increase their engagement in criminal behavior.
Project description:The increasingly visible presence of heavily armed police units in American communities has stoked widespread concern over the militarization of local law enforcement. Advocates claim militarized policing protects officers and deters violent crime, while critics allege these tactics are targeted at racial minorities and erode trust in law enforcement. Using a rare geocoded census of SWAT team deployments from Maryland, I show that militarized police units are more often deployed in communities with large shares of African American residents, even after controlling for local crime rates. Further, using nationwide panel data on local police militarization, I demonstrate that militarized policing fails to enhance officer safety or reduce local crime. Finally, using survey experiments-one of which includes a large oversample of African American respondents-I show that seeing militarized police in news reports may diminish police reputation in the mass public. In the case of militarized policing, the results suggest that the often-cited trade-off between public safety and civil liberties is a false choice.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Law enforcement traffic stops are one of the most common entryways to the US justice system. Conventional frameworks suggest traffic stops promote public safety by reducing dangerous driving practices and non-vehicular crime. Law enforcement agencies have wide latitude in enforcement, including prioritization of stop types: (1) safety (e.g. moving violation) stops, (2) investigatory stops, or (3) economic (regulatory and equipment) stops. In order to prevent traffic crash fatalities and reduce racial disparities, the police department of Fayetteville, North Carolina significantly re-prioritized safety stops. METHODS:Annual traffic stop, motor vehicle crash, and crime data from 2002 to 2016 were combined to examine intervention (2013-2016) effects. Fayetteville was compared against synthetic control agencies built from 8 similar North Carolina agencies by weighted matching on pre-intervention period trends and comparison against post-intervention trends. RESULTS:On average over the intervention period as compared to synthetic controls, Fayetteville increased both the number of safety stops +?121% (95% confidence interval?+?17%, +?318%) and the relative proportion of safety stops (+?47%). Traffic crash and injury outcomes were reduced, including traffic fatalities -?28% (-?64%, +?43%), injurious crashes -?23% (-?49%, +?16%), and total crashes -?13% (-?48%, +?21%). Disparity measures were reduced, including Black percent of traffic stops -?7% (-?9%, -?5%) and Black vs. White traffic stop rate ratio?-?21% (-?29%, -?13%). In contrast to the Ferguson Effect hypothesis, the relative de-prioritization of investigatory stops was not associated with an increase in non-traffic crime outcomes, which were reduced or unchanged, including index crimes -?10% (-?25%, +?8%) and violent crimes -?2% (-?33%, +?43%). Confidence intervals were estimated using a different technique and, given small samples, may be asymmetrical. CONCLUSIONS:The re-prioritization of traffic stop types by law enforcement agencies may have positive public health consequences both for motor vehicle injury and racial disparity outcomes while having little impact on non-traffic crime.
Project description:The mechanisms driving the nucleation, spread, and dissipation of crime hotspots are poorly understood. As a consequence, the ability of law enforcement agencies to use mapped crime patterns to design crime prevention strategies is severely hampered. We also lack robust expectations about how different policing interventions should impact crime. Here we present a mathematical framework based on reaction-diffusion partial differential equations for studying the dynamics of crime hotspots. The system of equations is based on empirical evidence for how offenders move and mix with potential victims or targets. Analysis shows that crime hotspots form when the enhanced risk of repeat crimes diffuses locally, but not so far as to bind distant crime together. Crime hotspots may form as either supercritical or subcritical bifurcations, the latter the result of large spikes in crime that override linearly stable, uniform crime distributions. Our mathematical methods show that subcritical crime hotspots may be permanently eradicated with police suppression, whereas supercritical hotspots are displaced following a characteristic spatial pattern. Our results thus provide a mechanistic explanation for recent failures to observe crime displacement in experimental field tests of hotspot policing.
Project description:Stress experienced by law enforcement officers is often extreme and is in many ways unique among professions. Although past research on officer stress is informative, it is limited, and most studies measure stress using self-report questionnaires or observational studies that have limited generalizability. We know of no research studies that have attempted to track direct physiological stress responses in high fidelity, especially within an operational police setting. The outcome of this project will have an impact on both practitioners and policing researchers. To do so, we will establish a capacity to obtain complex, multisensor data; process complex datasets; and establish the methods needed to conduct idiopathic clinical trials on behavioral interventions in similar contexts.The objective of this pilot study is to demonstrate the practicality and utility of wrist-worn biometric sensor-based research in a law enforcement agency.We will use nonprobability convenience-based sampling to recruit 2-3 participants from the police department in Durham, North Carolina, USA.Data collection was conducted in 2016. We will analyze data in early 2017 and disseminate our results via peer reviewed publications in late 2017.We developed the Biometrics & Policing Demonstration project to provide a proof of concept on collecting biometric data in a law enforcement setting. This effort will enable us to (1) address the regulatory approvals needed to collect data, including human participant considerations, (2) demonstrate the ability to use biometric tracking technology in a policing setting, (3) link biometric data to law enforcement data, and (4) explore project results for law enforcement policy and training.
Project description:<label>OBJECTIVES</label>Although social science research has examined police and law enforcement-perpetrated discrimination against Black men using policing statistics and implicit bias studies, there is little quantitative evidence detailing this phenomenon from the perspective of Black men. Consequently, there is a dearth of research detailing how Black men's perspectives on police and law enforcement-related stress predict negative physiological and psychological health outcomes. This study addresses these gaps with the qualitative development and quantitative test of the Police and Law Enforcement (PLE) Scale.<label>METHOD</label>In Study 1, we used thematic analysis on transcripts of individual qualitative interviews with 90 Black men to assess key themes and concepts and develop quantitative items. In Study 2, we used 2 focus groups comprised of 5 Black men each (n = 10), intensive cognitive interviewing with a separate sample of Black men (n = 15), and piloting with another sample of Black men (n = 13) to assess the ecological validity of the quantitative items. For Study 3, we analyzed data from a sample of 633 Black men between the ages of 18 and 65 to test the factor structure of the PLE, as we all as its concurrent validity and convergent/discriminant validity.<label>RESULTS</label>Qualitative analyses and confirmatory factor analyses suggested that a 5-item, 1-factor measure appropriately represented respondents' experiences of police/law enforcement discrimination. As hypothesized, the PLE was positively associated with measures of racial discrimination and depressive symptoms.<label>CONCLUSIONS</label>Preliminary evidence suggests that the PLE is a reliable and valid measure of Black men's experiences of discrimination with police/law enforcement. (PsycINFO Database Record
Project description:Abstract The coronavirus pandemic poses multiple challenges for policing, including the need to continue responding to calls from the public. Several contingency plans warned police to expect a large and potentially overwhelming increase in demand from the public during a pandemic, but (to the author’s knowledge) there is no empirical work on police demand during a major public health emergency. This study used calls-for-service data from 10 large cities in the USA to analyse how calls for service changed during the early months of the 2020 COVID-19 outbreak, compared to forecasts of call volume based on data from previous years. Contrary to previous warnings, overall the number of calls went down during the early weeks of the pandemic. There were substantial reductions in specific call types, such as traffic collisions, and significant increases in others, such as calls to dead bodies. Other types of calls, particularly those relating to crime and order maintenance, continued largely as before. Changes in the frequency of different call types present challenges to law enforcement agencies, particularly since many will themselves be suffering from reduced staffing due to the pandemic. Understanding changes to calls in detail will allow police leaders to put in place evidence-based plans to ensure they can continue to serve the public.
Project description:Policing is an important structural determinant of HIV and other health risks faced by vulnerable populations, including people who sell sex and use drugs, though the role of routine police encounters is not well understood. Given the influence of policing on the risk environment of these groups, methods of measuring the aggregate impact of routine policing practices are urgently required. We developed and validated a novel, brief scale to measure police patrol practices (Police Practices Scale, PPS) among 250 street-based female sex workers (FSW) in Baltimore, Maryland, an urban setting with high levels of illegal drug activity. PPS items were developed from existing theory and ethnography with police and their encounters with FSW, and measured frequency of recent (past 3 months) police encounters. The 6-item scale was developed using exploratory factor analysis after examining the properties of the original 11 items. Confirmatory factor analysis was used to model the factor structure. A 2-factor model emerged, with law enforcement PPS items and police assistance PPS items loading on separate factors. Linear regression models were used to explore the relative distribution of these police encounters among FSW by modeling association with key socio-demographic and behavioral characteristics of the sample. Higher exposure to policing was observed among FSW who were homeless (? = 0.71, p = 0.037), in daily sex work (? = 1.32, p = 0.026), arrested in the past 12 months (? = 1.44, p<0.001) or injecting drugs in the past 3 months (? = 1.04, p<0.001). The PPS provides an important and novel contribution in measuring aggregate exposure to routine policing, though further validation is required. This scale could be used to evaluate the impact of policing on vulnerable populations' health outcomes, including HIV risk.
Project description:Despite Thailand's commitment to treating people who use drugs as "patients" not "criminals," Thai authorities continue to emphasize criminal law enforcement for drug control. In 2003, Thailand's drug war received international criticism due to extensive human rights violations. However, few studies have since investigated the impact of policing on drug-using populations. Therefore, we sought to examine experiences with policing among people who inject drugs (PWID) in Bangkok, Thailand, between 2008 and 2012.Between July 2011 and June 2012, semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with 42 community-recruited PWID participating in the Mitsampan Community Research Project in Bangkok. Interviews explored PWID's encounters with police during the past three years. Audio-recorded interviews were transcribed verbatim, and a thematic analysis was conducted to document the character of PWID's experiences with police. Respondents indicated that policing activities had noticeably intensified since rapid urine toxicology screening became available to police. Respondents reported various forms of police misconduct, including false accusations, coercion of confessions, excessive use of force, and extortion of money. However, respondents were reluctant to report misconduct to the authorities in the face of social and structural barriers to seeking justice. Respondents' strategies to avoid police impeded access to health care and facilitated transitions towards the misuse of prescribed pharmaceuticals. The study's limitations relate to the transferability of the findings, including the potential biases associated with the small convenience sample.This study suggests that policing in Bangkok has involved injustices, human rights abuses, and corruption, and policing practices in this setting appeared to have increased PWID's vulnerability to poor health through various pathways. Novel to this study are findings pertaining to the use of urine drug testing by police, which highlight the potential for widespread abuse of this emerging technology. These findings raise concern about ongoing policing practices in this setting.
Project description:The New York Police Department (NYPD) under Operation Impact deployed extra police officers to high crime areas designated as impact zones. Officers were encouraged to conduct investigative stops in these areas. City officials credited the program as one of the leading causes of New York City's low crime rate. We tested the effects of Operation Impact on reported crimes and arrests from 2004 to 2012 using a difference-in-differences approach. We used Poisson regression models to compare differences in crime and arrest counts before and after census block groups were designated as impact zones compared to census block groups in the same NYPD precincts but outside impact zones. Impact zones were significantly associated with reductions in total reported crimes, assaults, burglaries, drug violations, misdemeanor crimes, felony property crimes, robberies, and felony violent crimes. Impact zones were significantly associated with increases in total reported arrests, arrests for burglary, arrests for weapons, arrests for misdemeanor crimes, and arrests for property felony crimes. Impact zones were also significantly associated with increases in investigative stops for suspected crimes, but only the increase in stops made based on probable cause indicators of criminal behaviors were associated with crime reductions. The largest increase in investigative stops in impact zones was based on indicators of suspicious behavior that had no measurable effect on crime. The findings suggest that saturating high crime blocks with police helped reduce crime in New York City, but that the bulk of the investigative stops did not play an important role in the crime reductions. The findings indicate that crime reduction can be achieved with more focused investigative stops.
Project description:In the USA, homicide is a leading cause of death for young males and a major cause of racial disparities in life expectancy for men. There are intense debate and little rigorous research on the effects of firearm sales regulation on homicides. This study estimates the impact of Missouri's 2007 repeal of its permit-to-purchase (PTP) handgun law on states' homicide rates and controls for changes in poverty, unemployment, crime, incarceration, policing levels, and other policies that could potentially affect homicides. Using death certificate data available through 2010, the repeal of Missouri's PTP law was associated with an increase in annual firearm homicides rates of 1.09 per 100,000 (+23%) but was unrelated to changes in non-firearm homicide rates. Using Uniform Crime Reporting data from police through 2012, the law's repeal was associated with increased annual murders rates of 0.93 per 100,000 (+16%). These estimated effects translate to increases of between 55 and 63 homicides per year in Missouri.