The Ecological Structuring of Police Officers’ Perceptions of Citizen Cooperation

John A. Shjarback, Justin Nix, Scott E. Wolfe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Neighborhood structural conditions influence police behavior, but few studies have addressed whether neighborhood conditions are associated with officers’ perceptions of residents in those communities. This is an important gap because officers’ perceptions of what they can expect from residents in disadvantaged communities may help explain differential treatment. Using data from the Project on Policing Neighborhoods, we examined neighborhood effects on officers’ perceptions of citizen cooperation. Officers working in beats with more concentrated disadvantage and higher homicide rates were less likely to believe that citizens would be willing to cooperate with law enforcement. We discuss this finding in relation to explaining differential police treatment across communities and what it means for the legitimacy dialogue that unfolds between the police and community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1143-1170
Number of pages28
JournalCrime and Delinquency
Issue number9
StatePublished - Aug 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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