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NCJ Number: 169861 Find in a Library
Title: Community Characteristics and the Recording of Crime: Police Recording of Citizens' Complaints of Burglary and Assault
Journal: Justice Quarterly  Volume:14  Issue:4  Dated:(December 1997)  Pages:631-650
Author(s): B D Warner
Date Published: 1997
Page Count: 20
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examines the effects of neighborhood characteristics on the extent to which police do not record citizens' complaints of burglaries and assaults.
Abstract: Police decisions to record or not record incidents as crimes are an important but neglected aspect of discretionary decisionmaking in the criminal justice system. Findings of this study show that the poverty of the neighborhood increases nonrecording of burglaries, while increases in the percentage of foreign-born and in the mobility rate decrease nonrecording. Demand for service also increases nonrecording, but only when neighborhoods with extremely high demand are included. There is considerably less evidence for effects of neighborhood characteristics on the recording of assaults. The literature shows that police are more likely to make arrests in poor neighborhoods. That point must be viewed as consequential to the findings of this study that police are less likely to record crime in poor neighborhoods. Only when these behaviors are viewed in combination will a clearer picture emerge of police discretionary behavior and its implications for measurement error in macro-level studies. In turn, these findings must be understood in the broader context of different urban political structures. The findings have important implications for understanding both police decisionmaking and potential biases in the distribution of official counts of recorded crime. Notes, tables, references, appendix
Main Term(s): Police
Index Term(s): Complaint processing; Offense statistics; Police decisionmaking; Police differential response; Police discretion; Police policies and procedures; Police reports; Police work attitudes; Statistical bias
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