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: 77263 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Police Service Delivery to the Elderly
Author(s): S Schack; G Grissom; S B Wax
Corporate Author: University City Science Ctr
United States of America
Date Published: 1980
Page Count: 182
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Justice/
Rockville, MD 20849
University City Science Ctr
Washington, DC 20005
US Dept of Justice
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: 76-NI-99-0137
Sale Source: University City Science Ctr
1120 G Street, NW
Washington, DC 20005
United States of America

National Institute of Justice/
NCJRS paper reproduction
Box 6000, Dept F
Rockville, MD 20849
United States of America
Document: PDF
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This report, based on a survey done in 1978, presents a brief review of current knowledge and opinion about the elderly's need for police service, discusses the kinds of service police provide to the elderly, and assesses the implications of these service delivery patterns for police operations.
Abstract: Data for the report are drawn from a community survey of 913 elderly citizens in 2 cities, a survey of 893 police officers in 2 departments, a review of elderly requests for police service, and a nationwide review of police-related programs designed to assist elderly clients. The citizen survey indicated that the urban elderly's anxieties concerning crime impose several limitations upon their lifestyles and contribute to feelings of depression and loneliness. However, despite the physical, financial, and emotional suffering caused by victimization and fear of crime, the elderly expressed extremely favorable attitutes toward the police. The results of the police officer survey indicate that the responding officers have a generally positive image of the elderly and perceive the elderly as making proportionately fewer demands and fewer unnecessary requests for service than the nonelderly population. Analysis of requests by the elderly for police service indicates that the elderly do not make excessive or especially difficult demands upon the police or that there are any severe strains in police/elderly interactions. The findings summarized in this report have two principal and possibly controversial policy implications for police operations. First, the report indicates that the elderly have quite favorable attitudes toward the police and are generally satisfied with the quality of police services they receive and that the police have a generally positive image of the elderly and appear to encounter few special difficulties in providing services to them. These findings raise serious questions about the advisability of undertaking major programs designed specifically to improve the quality of police services to the elderly without first carefully establishing that such programs represent the most effective use of limited police resources. Second, the analysis suggests that the police could play a much more active role in referring elderly citizens with either crime- or noncrime-related problems. The survey data revealed that only a very small percentage of the police service recipients were referred to other sources for help. This is surprising because the police are often called to handle noncrime-related problems which fall outside their field of expertise, and because they encounter elderly crime victims who may have problems coping with the physical, economic, and psychological effects of victimization.
Index Term(s): Behavioral and Social Sciences; Crime Control Programs; Crimes against the elderly; Fear of crime; Older Adults (65+); Police community relations; Police crime-prevention; Police resource allocation
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.