Following Their Lead: Police Perceptions and Their Effects on Crime Prevention

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Crime prevention, police perceptions, community policing, procedural justice, Item Response Theory, Canada’s General Social Survey

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This study examines the effect that individuals’ perceptions of police have on their adoption of crime prevention measures. Unlike past research that conceptualized police perceptions as inversely associated with crime prevention, we introduce a framework that distinguishes between the traditional policing and community policing/procedural justice models. We analyze multilevel data from Canada’s General Social Survey for 13 crime prevention measures (e.g. locking doors, installing burglar alarms), and estimate Item Response Theory models to account for differing levels of difficulty in the implementation of these measures. Results show that the effect of police perceptions on the adoption of crime prevention measures varies by policing model. Residents who have favorable perceptions of the police as to the performance of traditional policing duties are less inclined to take measures against crime. In contrast, those with favorable perceptions of the police as engaging in community policing/procedural justice are more inclined to take such measures.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Justice Quarterly, v. 39, issue 2, p. 327-353