Advertisement

Journal of Quantitative Criminology

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 599–627 | Cite as

The Salience of Social Contextual Factors in Appraisals of Police Interactions with Citizens: A Randomized Factorial Experiment

  • Anthony A. Braga
  • Christopher Winship
  • Tom R. Tyler
  • Jeffrey Fagan
  • Tracey L. Meares
Original Paper

Abstract

Objectives

Prior research indicates that public assessments of the manner in which the police exercise their authority are a key antecedent of judgments about the legitimacy of the police. In this study, the importance of context in influencing people’s assessment of police wrongdoing is examined.

Methods

A randomized factorial experiment was used to test how respondents perceive and evaluate police–citizens interactions along a range of types of situations and encounters. 1,361 subjects were surveyed on factors hypothesized to be salient influences on how citizens perceive and evaluate citizen interactions with police. Subjects viewed videos of actual police–citizen encounters and were asked for their evaluations of these observed encounters. Contextual primes were used to focus subjects on particular aspects of the context within which the encounter occurs.

Results

Structural equation models revealed that social contextual framing factors, such as the climate of police–community relations and the legality of the stop that led to the encounter, influence citizen appraisals of police behavior with effects comparable in size to and even larger than demographic variables such as education, race, and income.

Conclusions

These results suggest that the understandings and perceptions that people bring to a situation are important determinants of their assessment of police fairness. The police can positively influence citizen interpretations of police actions by striving to create a climate of positive police–community relationships in cities.

Keywords

Police legitimacy Procedural justice Priming Randomized factorial experiment 

References

  1. Baker L, Wagner TH, Singer S, Bundorf MK (2003) Use of the internet and email for health care information: results from a national survey. JAMA 289:2400–2406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Balcetis E, Lassiter GD (eds) (2010) Social psychology of visual perception. Psychology Press, NYGoogle Scholar
  3. Bargh J, Chartrand T (2000) Priming and automaticity research. In: Reis HT, Judd CM (eds) Handbook of research methods in social and personality psychology. Cambridge University Press, NY, pp 253–284Google Scholar
  4. Beeghley L (2004) The structure of social stratification in the United States. Pearson, Allyn & Bacon, BostonGoogle Scholar
  5. Beetham D (1991) The legitimation of power. Humanities Press International, Atlantic HighlandsGoogle Scholar
  6. Bollen KA (1989) Structural equations with latent variables. Wiley, NYCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bollen KA, Long JS (eds) (1993) Testing structural equation models. Sage, Newbury ParkGoogle Scholar
  8. Bottoms A, Tankebe J (2012) Beyond procedural justice: a dialogic approach to legitimacy in criminal justice. J Crim Law Criminol 102:119–170Google Scholar
  9. Box GE, Hunter WG, Hunter JS (2005) Statistics for experimenters: design, innovation, and discovery, 2nd edn. Wiley, NYGoogle Scholar
  10. Braga AA (2008) Problem-oriented policing and crime prevention, 2nd edn. Lynne Rienner, BoulderGoogle Scholar
  11. Brandl SG, Frank J, Worden RE, Bynum T (1994) Global and specific attitudes toward the police: disentangling the relationship. Justice Q 11:119–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Brown TA (2006) Confirmatory factor analysis for applied research. Guilford, NYGoogle Scholar
  13. Brown B, Benedict W (2002) Perceptions of the police: past findings, methodological issues, conceptual issues, and policy implications. Policing 25:543–580CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Brunson RK (2007) Police don’t like black people: African-American young men’s accumulated police experiences. Criminol Pub Pol 6:71–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Brunson RK, Miller J (2006) Young black men and urban policing in the United States. Brit J Criminol 46:613–640CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Brunson RK, Weitzer R (2009) Police relations with black and white youths in different urban neighborhoods. Urb Aff Rev 44:858–885CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Carr PJ, Napolitano L, Keating J (2007) We never call the cops and here is why: a qualitative examination of legal cynicism in three Philadelphia neighborhoods. Criminology 45:701–736CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Coicaud J-M (2002) Legitimacy and politics: a contribution to the study of the political right and political responsibility. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Couper MP (2000) Web surveys: a review of issues and approaches. Pub Opin Q 64:464–494CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cronbach LJ (1951) Coefficient alpha and the internal structure of tests. Psychometrika 16:297–334CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dennis JM (2001) Are internet panels creating professional respondents? The benefits of online panels far outweigh the potential for panel effects. Mark Res Summer:34–38Google Scholar
  22. Easton D (1975) A reassessment of the concept of political support. Br J Polit Sci 5:435–457CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Erdley CA, D’Agostino P (1988) Cognitive and affective components of automatic priming effects. J Pers Soc Psychol 54:741–747CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Fagan J (2002) Law, social science and racial profiling. Just Res Policy 4:104–129Google Scholar
  25. Fagan J, Malkin V (2003) Theorizing community justice through community courts. Fordham Urb Law J 30:857–953Google Scholar
  26. Fisher R (1926) The arrangement of field experiments. J Minist Agric G B 33:503–513Google Scholar
  27. Fiske ST, Taylor SE (1991) Social cognition, 2nd edn. McGraw-Hill, NYGoogle Scholar
  28. Fyfe JJ (2002) Too many missing cases: holes in our knowledge about police use of force. US Department of Justice, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  29. Gaertner SL, Mann J, Murrell A, Dovidio JF (1989) Reducing intergroup bias: the benefits of recategorization. J Pers Soc Psychol 57:239–249CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Gallagher C, Maguire E, Mastrofski S, Reisig M (2001) The public image of the police. International Association of Chiefs of Police, AlexandriaGoogle Scholar
  31. Gardner MP (1983) Advertising effects on attributes recalled and criteria used for brand evaluations. J Consum Res 10:310–318CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gau J (2010) Basic principles and practices of structural equation modeling in criminal justice and criminology research. J Crim Just Educ 21:136–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Gottfredson GD (1981) Schooling and delinquency. In: Martin SE, Sechrest LB, Redner R (eds) New directions in the rehabilitation of criminal offenders. Report of the panel on research on rehabilitative techniques. National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  34. Gould J, Mastrofski SD (2001) The constitutionality of police searches. Paper presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  35. Graham S, Lowery B (2007) Unconscious racial stereotypes about adolescent offenders. Law Hum Behav 28:483–504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hastorf AH, Cantril H (1954) They saw a game: a case study. J Abnormal Psychol 49:129–134CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hawdon J (2008) Legitimacy, trust, social capital, and policing styles: a theoretical statement. Police Q 11:182–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Herr PM (1989) Priming price: prior knowledge and context effects. J Consum Res 16:67–75CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Higgins ET, Rholes WS, Jones CR (1977) Category accessibility and impression formation. J Exp Soc Psychol 13:141–154CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Higgins ET, Bargh J, Lombardi W (1985) Nature of priming effects on categorization. J Exp Psychol Learn Memory Cogn 11:59–69CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hohl K, Bradford B, Stanko EA (2010) Influencing trust and confidence in the London Metropolitan Police. Br J Criminol 50:491–513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hu L, Bentler PM (1999) Cutoff criteria for fit indexes in covariance structural analysis. Struct Equat Model 6:1–55CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Jackson J, Bradford B (2009) Crime, policing and social order: on the expressive nature of public confidence in policing. Br J Sociol 60:493–521CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Jackson J, Bradford B, Hough M, Myhill A, Quinton P, Tyler TR (2012) Why do people comply with the law? Legitimacy and the influence of legal institutions. Br J Criminol 52:1051–1071CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Kim J-O, Mueller CW (1978) Introduction to factor analysis. Quantitative applications in the social sciences, paper 13. Sage, Newbury Park, CAGoogle Scholar
  46. Kline R (2010) Principles and practice of structural equation modeling, 3rd edn. Guilford, NYGoogle Scholar
  47. Krosnick JA, Chang LC (2001) A comparison of the random digit dialing telephone survey methodology with internet survey methodology as implemented by Knowledge Networks and Harris Interactive. Paper presented at conference of the American Association for Public Opinion Research. http://www.knowledgenetworks.com/ganp
  48. Krueger AB, Malechkova J (2003) Education, poverty and terrorism: is there a causal connection. J Econ Perspect 17:119–144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Loftus EF, Doyle JM, Dysert J (2008) Eyewitness testimony: civil and criminal, 4th edn. Lexis Law Publishing, CharlottesvilleGoogle Scholar
  50. Long JS (1983) Confirmatory factor analysis. Quantitative applications in the social sciences, paper 33. Sage, Newbury Park, CAGoogle Scholar
  51. Mastrofski SD, Snipes J, Supina A (1996) Compliance on demand: the public’s response to specific police requests. J Res Crime Delinq 33:269–305CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Mazerolle L, Bennett S, Davis J, Sargeant E, Manning M (2012) Legitimacy in policing. Campbell systematic reviewsGoogle Scholar
  53. Mazerolle L, Antrobus E, Bennett S, Tyler TR (2013) Shaping citizen perceptions of police legitimacy: a randomized field trial of procedural justice. Criminology 51:33–64CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. McCauley C (2002) Psychological issues in understanding terrorism and the response to terrorism. In: Stout CE, Schwab K (eds) The psychology of terrorism, vol 3., ParegerWestport, CT, pp 33–65Google Scholar
  55. McCluskey JD (2003) Police requests for compliance: coercive and procedurally just tactics. LFB Scholarly Publishing, NYGoogle Scholar
  56. Meares T, Kahan D (1998) Law and (norms of) order in the inner city. Law Soc Rev 32:805–838CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Moore M (1992) Problem-solving and community policing. In: Tonry M, Morris N (eds) Modern policing, crime and justice, vol 15. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 99–158Google Scholar
  58. Moore M (2002) Recognizing value in public policing. Police Executive Research Forum, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  59. Parsons T (1967) Some reflections on the place of force in social process. In: Parsons T (ed) Sociological theory and modern society. The Free Press, NY, pp 264–296Google Scholar
  60. Paternoster R, Brame R, Bachman R, Sherman LW (1997) Do fair procedures matter? Law Soc Rev 17:457–479CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Reisig MD (2010) Community and problem-oriented policing. In: Tonry M (ed) Crime and justice, vol 39. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 2–53Google Scholar
  62. Reisig MD, Chandek MS (2001) The effects of expectancy disconfirmation on outcome satisfaction in police–citizen interactions. Policing 21:88–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Reisig MD, Bratton J, Gertz MG (2007) The construct validity and refinement of process-based policing measures. Crim Just Behav 34:1005–1028CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Rosenbaum DP, Schuck A, Costello S, Hawkins DF, Ring M (2005) Attitudes toward the police: the effects of direct and vicarious experience. Police Q 8:343–365CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Rossi P, Lipsey M, Freeman H (2004) Evaluation: a systematic approach, 7th edn. Sage, Thousand OaksGoogle Scholar
  66. Sarat A (1977) Studying American legal culture. Law Soc Rev 11:427–488CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Scheingold S (1974) The politics of rights, lawyers, public policy, and political change. Yale University Press, New HavenGoogle Scholar
  68. Seron C, Pereira J, Kovath J (2006) Just punishment for police misconduct. Criminology 44:925–960CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Shadish W, Cook T, Campbell D (2002) Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for generalized causal inference. Houghton Mifflin, BostonGoogle Scholar
  70. Sherman LW (1999) Consent of the governed: police, democracy, and diversity. Paper presented at the conference in honor of Professor Menachem Amir, Institute of Criminology, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, IsraelGoogle Scholar
  71. Skitka LJ, Mullen E (2002) Understanding judgments of fairness in a real-world political context: a test of the value protection model of justice reasoning. Pers Soc Psychol Bull 28:588–597CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Skitka LJ, Mullen E, Griffin T, Hutchinson S, Chamberlin B (2002) Dispositions, ideological scripts, or motivated correction? Understanding ideological differences in attributions for social problems. J Pers Soc Psychol 83:470–487CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Skogan W (1990) Disorder and decline. The Free Press, NYGoogle Scholar
  74. Skogan W, Frydl K (2004) Fairness and effectiveness in policing: the evidence. National Research Council, WashingtonGoogle Scholar
  75. Skogan W, Hartnett S (1997) Community policing, Chicago style. Oxford University Press, NYGoogle Scholar
  76. Skogan W, Meares TL (2004) Lawful policing. Ann Am Acad Polit Soc Sci 593:66–83CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Skolnick JH, Fyfe JJ (1993) Above the law. The Free Press, NYGoogle Scholar
  78. StataCorp (2011) Stata Release 12.0. StataCorp, College StationGoogle Scholar
  79. Sunshine J, Tyler TR (2003) The role of procedural justice and legitimacy in shaping public support for policing. Law Soc Rev 37:555–589CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Tankebe J (2009) Public cooperation with the police in Ghana: does procedural fairness matter? Criminology 47:1265–1293CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Tankebe J (2013) Viewing things differently: the dimensions of public perceptions of police legitimacy. Criminology 51:103–135CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Tyler TR (2003) Procedural justice, legitimacy, and the effective rule of law. In: Tonry M (ed) Crime and justice: a review of research, vol 30. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, pp 431–505Google Scholar
  83. Tyler TR (2004) Enhancing police legitimacy. Ann Am Acad Polit Soc Sci 593:84–99CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Tyler TR (2005) Policing in black and white: ethnic group differences in trust and confidence in the police. Police Q 8:322–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Tyler TR (2006) Why people obey the law, 2nd edn. Princeton University Press, PrincetonGoogle Scholar
  86. Tyler TR, Fagan J (2008) Legitimacy and cooperation: why do people help the police fight crime in their communities? Ohio St J Crim Law 6:231–276Google Scholar
  87. Tyler TR, Huo YJ (2002) Trust in the law: encouraging public cooperation with the police and courts. Russell Sage Foundation, NYGoogle Scholar
  88. Tyler TR, Mitchell G (1994) Legitimacy and the empowerment of discretionary legal authority. Duke Law J 43:703–802CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Tyler TR, Wakslak C (2004) Profiling and the legitimacy of the police: procedural justice, attributions of motive, and the acceptance of social authority. Criminology 42:13–42CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Tyler TR, Boeckmann R, Smith HJ, Huo YJ (1997) Social justice in a diverse society. Westview, BoulderGoogle Scholar
  91. U.S. National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders (1968) Report of the national advisory commission on civil disorders. U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  92. Warren PY (2011) Perceptions of police disrespect during vehicle stops: a race-based analysis. Crime Delinq 57:356–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Weisburd DL, Eck JE (2004) What can police do to reduce crime, disorder, and fear? Ann Am Acad Polit Soc Sci 593:42–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Weitzer R, Tuch SA (2006) Race and policing in America: conflict and reform. Cambridge University Press, NYCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Wells GL, Olson EA (2003) Eyewitness testimony. Ann Rev Psychol 54:277–295CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  96. Wolfinger R, Rosenstone SJ (1980) Who votes? Yale University Press, New Haven, CTGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anthony A. Braga
    • 1
    • 2
  • Christopher Winship
    • 2
  • Tom R. Tyler
    • 3
  • Jeffrey Fagan
    • 4
  • Tracey L. Meares
    • 3
  1. 1.Rutgers UniversityNewarkUSA
  2. 2.John F. Kennedy School of GovernmentHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Yale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  4. 4.Columbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

Personalised recommendations