Neighborhoods and the Police: An Ecological Theory of Formal Social Control

Karen L. Hayslett-McCall, Pennsylvania State University

ABSTRACT
Common sense suggests that neighborhoods are important when studying police behavior, yet there have been only a few studies in this area. These studies have not found strong support for neighborhood influence on police officer behavior The current research project examines the extent to which neighborhood characteristics (i.e., how the land-use is distributed, multi-family dwellings versus single family residences, etc.) influence officer behavior. A unique data set is constructed that incorporates calls-for-service data from several urban police departments, census data, and urban infrastructure data. The current research examines the data using three complementary methodological approaches: GIS technologies, spatial statistics, and Hierarchical Linear Modeling. Theoretical, methodological, and policy implications are examined.

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Updated 05/20/2006