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Citizen Involvement in the Coproduction of Police Outputs

NCJ Number
Journal of Crime and Justice Volume: 19 Issue: 2 Dated: (1996) Pages: 1-30
Date Published
30 pages
Using data from a three-wave panel survey conducted in a large metropolitan area, this study examined the causal role of citizen attitudes toward the police in citizen willingness to engage in coproductive behaviors with the police.
Coproduction was defined to mean individuals and/or groups who act outside their regular roles as consumers to contribute to the production of goods and services. Dependent study variables included private, collective, and drug-related coproduction by citizens. Independent study variables encompassed citizen attitudes toward the police, demographic variables, stake in the neighborhood, perceptions of neighborhood problems, fear of crime, and the feasibility of collective action. Study findings showed that citizen attitudes toward the police were not strongly or even moderately correlated with coproductive behaviors. In most cases, citizen attitudes were not statistically significant determinants of citizen behaviors that assisted the police. As such, it appeared that the relationship between citizen attitudes toward the police and citizen conduct was not as strong or as direct as contemporary thinking has suggested. This was especially true for citizen attitudes concerning police actions to maintain order. Citizen attitudes toward drug-related police performance was a significant determinant of their reporting of drug-related information to the police or community groups. Contrary to expectations, drug-related attitudes exerted a negative influence on citizen behaviors. Citizen perceptions of community problems played a substantial role in explaining not only attitudes but also coproduction. Findings on collective coproduction indicated that citizens who believed they lived in a supportive community and that community groups could be effective were significant. With regard to private coproduction, citizen beliefs had no statistical impact on the decision to act alone and directly call the police. Factors that explain citizen willingness to engage in coproductive behaviors are discussed. 44 references, 8 endnotes, 3 tables, and 4 figures

Date Published: January 1, 1996