The purpose of this paper is to use Klinger's theory of negotiated order to examine whether district crime and deviance levels exert influence on levels of police cynicism towards district residents. A secondary purpose is to discuss the policy implications for the proposed relationship between district crime and police cynicism.
Interviews from the Project on Policing Neighborhood (POPN) and patrol district crime data were used to study whether crime and deviance levels exert influence on police cynicism of district residents (n=574). It was hypothesized that officers would be more cynical of citizens in districts with higher rates of violent crime compared with their colleagues assigned to districts with lower rates of violent crime.
The results of OLS regression analyses indicate that district violent crime rate was related to police cynicism and in the direction hypothesized, controlling for both individual and occupational covariates. Officers with more experience were also found to have lower levels of cynicism.
Items used to construct the measure of police cynicism were adapted from the POPN survey data set which asked general questions about officer perceptions of district residents. Further research and better measures are necessary in order to examine the determinants of police cynicism with implications for explaining behavior. Findings from the study might be used by policymakers in terms of police assignment and deployment to high crime areas.
This is the first empirical attempt at examining Klinger's theory of social ecology. The study incorporates a policy argument based on the theoretical precepts and the results from the data analysis.
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