Police use of force and neighbourhood characteristics: an examination of structural disadvantage, crime, and resistance

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use of force, neighbourhoods, threat hypothesis, minorities, structural disadvantage

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This study examines relationships between the force levels applied by police officers and the characteristics of the neighbourhoods where these events occurred. The data upon which this study is based was drawn from a municipal police department in the southern USA for the year 2000. Information from the official Use of Force reports was linked to census block data and crime tract data, thus providing an opportunity to investigate whether severity of force varies with neighbourhood demographic characteristics. These characteristics include race/ethnicity, family composition, residential turnover, crime levels, and neighbourhood levels of active physical resistance. When controlling for the number of incidents of active physical resistance that occurred in a neighbourhood, only this variable and the racial composition of the neighbourhood remained consistent significant predictors of police use of force.

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Citation / Publisher Attribution

Policing & Society, v. 18, issue 3, p. 282-300