Structural and organizational predictors of homicide by police

Brad W. Smith (Department of Criminal Justice, Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA)

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Publication date: 1 December 2004


The present study examined homicides by police officers, testing threat, community violence, and organizational hypotheses. Using UCR, SHR, Census, and LEMAS data the study extends previous research by examining the relative impact of community violence, inequality and race, and organizational characteristics on the number of killings of felons by police officers in large US cities. The findings show that measures of racial threat and community violence were related to police killings. Measures of organizational policies were largely unrelated to the number of police killings. Overall the study extends research in the area, yet it also points to a more general need for research on the effects of organizational factors on police violence.



Smith, B. (2004), "Structural and organizational predictors of homicide by police", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 27 No. 4, pp. 539-557.

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Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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