Encyclopedia of Criminology and Criminal Justice

2014 Edition
| Editors: Gerben Bruinsma, David Weisburd

Methodological Issues in Evaluating Police Performance

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5690-2_191

Overview

Measuring and evaluating police performance is not easy. Both technical issues, such as designing the best measures, and normative concerns, such as deciding what tasks the police should be performing, are important to consider (Moore and Braga 2004). The focus here is on methodological issues, not normative ones, but one cannot assess the methodological quality of police performance measures without some consideration of what “good” performance entails.

Police performance traditionally has been evaluated with data on crime-related outcomes (e.g., calls for service, incidents, and arrests). “Measurement of the police’s impact on crime has long been the sine qua non of those endeavors that might be loosely dubbed ‘police performance measurement’” (Wycoff and Manning 1983: 15). This does not mean that crime measures are the only relevant performance measures, but crime is logically one important indicator of police performance. The focus below is on the flaws of using aggregate...

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Recommended Reading and References

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Criminology and Criminal JusticeArizona State UniversityPhoenixUSA