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Willingness to report crime to the police: Traditional crime, cybercrime, and procedural justice

Amanda Graham (School of Criminal Justice, Georgia Southern University , Statesboro, Georgia, USA )
Teresa C. Kulig (School of Criminology and Criminal Justice, University of Nebraska at Omaha , Omaha, Nebraska, USA )
Francis T. Cullen (School of Criminal Justice, University of Cincinnati , Cincinnati, Ohio, USA )

Policing: An International Journal

ISSN: 1363-951X

Article publication date: 16 December 2019

Issue publication date: 6 April 2020




The purpose of this paper is to understand the reporting intentions of traditional and cybercrime victimization, and the role of procedural justice in explaining sources of variation.


Using Amazon’s MTurk program for opt-in survey participation, 534 respondents across the USA considered ten victimization incidents and expressed their likelihood of reporting each incident to the police as well as their belief that the police would identify and arrest the offender.


As expected, reporting intentions increased with the seriousness of the incident for both traditional crime and cybercrime. However, reporting intentions were generally slightly higher for incidents that occurred in the physical world, as opposed to online. Likewise, beliefs that police could identify and arrest and offender were lower for cybercrime compared to traditional crime. Consistently, predictors of reporting to the police and belief in police effectiveness hinged heavily on procedural justice. Other predictors for these behaviors and beliefs are also discussed.


This study uniquely compares reporting intentions of potential victims of parallel victimizations occurring in-person and online, thus providing firm comparisons about reporting intentions and beliefs about police effectiveness in addressing traditional and cybercrime.



Graham, A., Kulig, T.C. and Cullen, F.T. (2020), "Willingness to report crime to the police: Traditional crime, cybercrime, and procedural justice", Policing: An International Journal, Vol. 43 No. 1, pp. 1-16.



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