skip navigation


Register for Latest Research

Stay Informed
Register with NCJRS to receive NCJRS's biweekly e-newsletter JUSTINFO and additional periodic emails from NCJRS and the NCJRS federal sponsors that highlight the latest research published or sponsored by the Office of Justice Programs.

NCJRS Abstract

The document referenced below is part of the NCJRS Virtual Library collection. To conduct further searches of the collection, visit the Virtual Library. See the Obtain Documents page for direction on how to access resources online, via mail, through interlibrary loans, or in a local library.


NCJ Number: 221199 Find in a Library
Title: Minority Threat, Crime Control, and Police Resource Allocation in the Southwestern United States
Journal: Crime & Delinquency  Volume:54  Issue:1  Dated:January 2008  Pages:128-152
Author(s): Malcolm D. Holmes; Brad W. Smith; Ed A. Munoz; Adrienne B. Freng
Date Published: January 2008
Page Count: 25
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: The study examined the influence of rational choice and minority threat variables on police resource allocation in large cities in the Southwest.
Abstract: Findings suggest that both the rational choice and minority threat models capture important external political influences on the allocation of police resources; cities at a greater distance from the border spend less on policing which supports the argument that proximity to the border creates perceptions of threat and demands for greater police resources. Stereotypes of crime-prone Mexican immigrants and political pressure from an influential dominant group concerned about immigration might contribute to increased allocation of fiscal resources to local policing along the border. Rational choice theory maintains that these resources are distributed in accordance with the need for crime control, whereas conflict theory argues that they are allocated with the aim of controlling racial and ethnic minorities. Past research on police resource allocation has not focused on the Southwest, or included multiple indicators of Hispanic threat. This study identifies within-group class distinctions as potentially more important indicators of minority threat, at least in the Southwest, than the percent of Hispanics within the population. Allocations of police resources appear to be tied to the presence of poor Hispanics on both sides of the border, pointing to the relevance of the intersection of class and ethnicity to public policy decision in the region. Much research on police resource allocation remains to be done, especially the examination of the regional contexts of ethnic relations and crime control, as well as the analysis of causal variables not specified in dominant theoretical approaches. The complexities of these findings reinforce the ideas of conflict theory that have often been oversimplified in empirical research. Future research needs to consider that intra-ethnic group variation may be more relevant than the mere presence of a large ethnic minority population to perceptions of minority threat. Tables, notes, references
Main Term(s): Border control; Hispanic; Police-minority relations
Index Term(s): Crime Control Programs; Economic influences; Low income target groups; Police resource allocation; Southwestern States
To cite this abstract, use the following link:

*A link to the full-text document is provided whenever possible. For documents not available online, a link to the publisher's website is provided. Tell us how you use the NCJRS Library and Abstracts Database - send us your feedback.