Policing

Contextual factors in citizen’s willingness to cooperate with police

Tammy Rinehart Kochel
Associate Professor of Criminology & Criminal Justice, Southern Illinois University

Key Findings

  • Residents living in diverse residential locations are more willing to cooperate with police and have higher levels of police legitimacy and procedural justice.
  • Residents in diverse residential locations have higher levels of social cohesion and trust in their communities than residents living in hot spots communities.
  • Education level, age, and gender had an effect on citizens willingness to cooperate with police and report crime.

Description

In the article, “Re-Examining the Normative, Expressive, and Instrumental Models: How Do Feelings of Insecurity Condition the Willingness to Cooperate with Police in Different Contexts,”  Kochel and her co-authors studied the contextual factors that affect a citizen’s willingness to cooperate with police during investigations. The authors collected survey data in random neighborhoods in Brisbane, Queensland in Australia and hot spots neighborhoods in St. Louis, Missouri to compare resident cooperation and perceptions of police. The results showed that residents living in diverse residential areas like Brisbane had a greater willingness to cooperate with the police and lower levels of insecurity than residents that lived in hot spots like St. Louis. The residential participants also had high feelings of police legitimacy, procedural justice, and social cohesion and trust. The researchers also found that education levels, gender, and age impact the willingness of residents to cooperate with police and report crime. The lowest rate for cooperation and crime reporting were associated with lower education rates. The group with the highest rate for cooperation and crime reporting was older, educated females.

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