The Neighborhood Context of Police Use of Force

Cedrick G. Heraux, Michigan State University

The use of force by police officers is an issue that has been consistently in the public light over the course of the past decade. Much research has focused on this isue, examining a variety of explanatory variables including race and sex of officers and offenders, as well as suspect resistance. This research, however, has numerous different methodological techniques, as well as vastly differing independent variables. The proposed research seeks to examine the effects of neighborhood context on the use of force using observational and survey data collected in six different jurisdictions. By using neighborhood-level variables, this research is better able to examine the effects of particular places on police behavior in addition to the variables traditionally explored. This focus on the importance of context provides a new avenue for research on this topic, and is viewed as a basis for future studies of police behavior.

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Updated 05/20/2006