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On the consequences of being a object of suspicion: potential pitfalls of proactive policing

Tyler, Tom R., Jackson, Jonathan ORCID: 0000-0003-2426-2219 and Mentovich, Avital (2015) On the consequences of being a object of suspicion: potential pitfalls of proactive policing. Journal of Empirical Legal Studies, 12 (4). pp. 602-636. ISSN 1740-1461

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Identification Number: 10.1111/jels.12086


During the latter half of the 20th century American policing became more professional (Skogan & Frydl, 2004) and the rate of violent crime declined dramatically (Blumstein & Wallman, 2000). Yet public trust and confidence in the police increased at best marginally and there has been a large and continuing racial gap in police legitimacy. This article reviews changes in police policy and practice to explore the reasons for this seeming paradox. It is argued that a new model of proactive police stops has increased both the frequency of and the range of police contact with people in the community. Such police contact need not inherently undermine public trust in the police, but the style of such contact, through which the police communicate suspicion of ongoing or future criminal contact and seek to prevent it via the threat or use of coercion has not increased trust. This paper examines how such policies developed and why they are problematic. The result of a survey of Americans shows that perceived suspicion damages the social bonds between the police and the community and undermines trust in the police. It concludes by arguing that police contact need not be inherently negative and contact in which the police in which they use fair procedures can addresses issues of crime and disorder while building trust and confidence.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2015 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2015 Cornell Law School and Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Divisions: Methodology
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Sets: Departments > Methodology
Research centres and groups > Mannheim Centre for Criminology
Date Deposited: 24 Jun 2015 08:17
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:17
Funders: Yale Law School, New York University

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