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Economic inequality and the spatial distribution of stop and search: evidence from London

Suss, Joel and Rodrigues Oliveira, Thiago (2022) Economic inequality and the spatial distribution of stop and search: evidence from London. British Journal of Criminology. ISSN 0007-0955

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Identification Number: 10.1093/bjc/azac069

Abstract

We analyse the spatial concentration of stop and search (S&S) practices. Previous work argues that the persistent reliance on S&S, despite weak to null deterrent effects on crime, results from a social order maintenance motivation on the part of the police. Expanding previous studies that focused on who tends to be stopped and searched by police officers, we focus on where S&S concentrates and investigate the role of economic inequality. We use data from London in 2019 and demonstrate that a novel measure of salient, spatially granular economic inequality is positively associated with S&S incidence at a small spatial scale, even when controlling for crime rates and other important variables. Police officers more frequently stop and search members of the public in places where the well-off and the economically precarious co-exist. Implications for understanding S&S as a tool that distinguishes between citizens, between those to protect and potential criminals, are discussed.

Item Type: Article
Official URL: https://academic.oup.com/bjc
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2022 09:57
Last Modified: 25 Nov 2023 18:33
URI: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/115906

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