U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Community Views on Crime and Policing: Survey Mode Effects on Bias in Community Surveys

NCJ Number
Justice Quarterly Volume: 19 Issue: 3 Dated: September 2002 Pages: 565-587
Date Published
September 2002
23 pages

This article compares two modes of survey administration and data collection in order to build effective models for explaining community reactions to policing.


Focusing on community reactions to policing, this journal article examines two different modes of data collection and survey administration, mail and random digit dialing (RDD), in order to develop sound research models. After briefly discussing the resurgence of interest in community policing, the authors talk about response rates from survey studies, arguing that nonresponses and response bias in community interview studies are troublesome to researchers. Conducting mail in and phone surveys with four Los Angeles communities, the researchers compared two different types of administration of community surveys. The authors found that the response rate for the mail survey was higher in the two wealthier communities than was the response rate for phone surveys. Furthermore, the mail response rate was lower in the lower-income communities than was the phone survey response rates. The authors suggest that differential response biases contribute to differences in the types of fear of crime. This article concludes that researchers and departments conducting surveys should carefully consider the modes of data collection and survey administration employed in conducting research. Tables, references

Date Published: September 1, 2002