Using survey responses collected in 2018 from more than 1,000 community members living or working in more than 100 hot spots across 2 mid-sized cities in the United States, this study examined how community members’ perceptions of police activities in hot spots related to their wider attitudes about police.
Bivariate and multivariate analyses indicate that community members in hot spots in both cities exhibited more positive attitudes towards police along several dimensions (e.g., trust and confidence in police, views of police legitimacy, and perceptions of police responsiveness and procedural justice) when they saw more frequent patrol and when they observed positive police-community interactions. They had more negative views of police when they witnessed higher levels of investigative and enforcement activity. The findings support hot spot policing strategies that emphasize regular, systematic patrol in hot spots, complemented by positive community engagement efforts and problem-solving work. In contrast, they imply that enhanced enforcement activity in hot spots should be used judiciously. (Publisher abstract provided)
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