Policing not only occurs within ecological contexts, it also occurs in the context of formal organizations. Understanding how police action turns on the interplay between the two has formed the basis for this study. Drawing specifically on David Klinger's (1997) theory of social ecology and utilizing data from the Project on Policing Neighborhoods, this study examined whether police occupational outlooks covary with district and beat crime levels and whether crime levels vary inversely with the vigor with which formal police authority is applied. While police were more cynical and distrustful in districts and beats identified as high crime, findings from the multivariate analyses show that district and beat crime rates are not significantly related to police vigor as hypothesized. Officers were more vigorous in some districts and beats with higher levels of crime, though the effects were rather modest. The findings from this study highlight numerous issues related to the role of context and the spatial aggregate most appropriate for examining police attitudes and behavior. Implications and suggestions for future research and theoretical development are discussed.
- Social Ecology and Policing
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/james_sobol/7/