The primary purpose of this study is to assess the relative effects of race and class, at both individual and neighborhood levels, on public satisfaction with police. Using hierarchical linear modeling on 1,963 individuals nested within 66 neighborhoods, this study analyzes how individual-level variables, including race, class, age, gender, victimization and contact with police, and neighborhood-level factors, including racial composition, concentrated disadvantage, residential mobility and violent crime rate, influence residents' satisfaction with police. The results from the individual-level analysis indicate that both race and class are equally important predictors. African Americans and lower-class people tend to be less satisfied with police. The significant effects of race and class, however, disappear when neighborhood-level characteristics are considered simultaneously. Neighborhood racial composition affects satisfaction with police, with residents in predominately White and racially mixed neighborhoods having more favorable attitudes than those in predominately African American communities. Further analyses reveal that African Americans in economically advantaged neighborhoods are less likely than Whites in the same kind of neighborhoods to be satisfied with police, whereas African Americans and Whites in disadvantaged communities hold similar levels of satisfaction with police. Implications for future research and policy are discussed.
Original Publication Citation
Wu, Y. N., Sun, I. Y., & Triplett, R. A. (2009). Race, class or neighborhood context: Which matters more in measuring satisfaction with police? Justice Quarterly, 26(1), 125-156. doi:10.1080/07418820802119950
Wu, Yuning; Sun, Ivan Y.; and Triplett, Ruth A., "Race, Class or Neighborhood Context: Which Matters More in Measuring Satisfaction with Police?" (2009). Sociology & Criminal Justice Faculty Publications. 27.