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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 97260 Find in a Library
Title: State Intervention and Victimless Crimes - A Study of Police Attitudes
Journal: Journal of Police Sciences and Administration  Volume:13  Issue:1  Dated:(March 1985)  Pages:22-29
Author(s): G P Wilson; F T Cullen; E J Latessa; J S Wills
Date Published: 1985
Page Count: 8
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Questionnaires were distributed in 1983 to all 97 police officers employed in a small midwestern city to determine their attitudes toward the control of crimes without victims.
Abstract: General attitudes toward State legal intervention and attitudes toward the use of the criminal justice system to combat specific types of victimless offenses were examined, as well as the influence of officer characteristics on attitude formation. The sample of 88 officers who completed the questionnaires was predominantly male and white with a mean age of 35.01. A Likert scale was used to assess general attitudes toward the control of 'victimless' crimes, and a general 'intervention' scale was created to determine the influence of officer characteristics. These police did not believe that vice was a 'serious problem' in their community. Only 42 percent supported devoting 'more time and resources' to its control. The officers supported differing levels of State intervention for the various 'victimless' crimes they rated. They favored the highest degree of State intervention for selling drugs. Several sex offenses were accorded high scores, i.e., performing illegal abortions, the sale of child pornography, 'pimp' activity, and adult homosexual prostitution. Loan sharking also received high mean score. The data suggest that items which tap only broad attitudes toward intervention may fail to indicate the degree to which police attitudes vary by the type of 'victimless' offense. Age was the only variable significantly related to the general intervention measure, with older officers more likely to favor intervention. Tabular data and 19 references are provided.
Index Term(s): Age group comparisons; Drug law offenses; Intervention; Loan sharking; Police attitudes; Prostitution; Sex offenses
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