This study examined the relationship between youths’ trust in the police and their attitudes, beliefs, experiences, behaviors, and background characteristics.
Results indicate the scores on the trust of police index ranged from 4 to 20 with lower numbers representing lower levels of trust and vice versa. The mean for the full sample on the trust index was 10.5; for African-Americans and Latinos, it was 10.2 and 10.9 respectively. Forty percent of the students agreed or strongly agreed that they liked school and cared about what their teachers thought of them. Nearly one-third (31 percent) of the youths agreed or strongly agreed with each of the two questions that measured pro-social beliefs (people who leave their keys in the car are as much to blame as the thief, and delinquent acts do not hurt anyone). Similarly, 30 percent of the students reported that they had called the police in the past year. Half of the respondents indicated that they wanted to be like their mothers: however, only 27 percent of the students agreed or strongly agreed that they wanted to be like their fathers. A small percentage (10 percent) of the students responded that they were a current or a former gang member. Nearly 60 percent reported having been stopped by the police in the last year, and 40 percent reported that they observed others stopped and treated with disrespect by the police. Only 11 percent reported that they witnessed others stopped and treated with respect by the police. Data were collected from 891 students of a Chicago public school who were enrolled in May 2000 in 18 high schools throughout the city. Tables and references