Minority Group Threat, Crime, and Policing: Social Context and Social Control

Minority Group Threat, Crime, and Policing: Social Context and Social Control

Minority Group Threat, Crime, and Policing: Social Context and Social Control

Minority Group Threat, Crime, and Policing: Social Context and Social Control

Synopsis

"Jackson's expertise shines in this innovative analysis of the link between social inequality and law enforcement efforts. The research connects the level of conflict characterizing majority-minority relations to the level of financial investment in police resources. . . . Readers will find scholarly attention to theory, responsible implications for policy, and a careful diagnosis of the limits to law enforcement, along with a bibliography that reflects the cutting edge of research. This book should be available wherever a program in criminology, stratification, or criminal justice studies exists." Choice

Excerpt

It is my hope that this book will contribute to our understanding of societal expectations for police work--from national, regional, and local perspectives-- and to our recognition of the conflicts within those expectations. We feel the greatest need for policing and we spend the most on law enforcement in those places and periods when we are confronted by social problems and severe intergroup conflict. Yet it is in such situations that policing is least effective and most conflict ridden; social programs and intergroup mediation efforts often prove far more effective, in the long run, in strengthening a community and in reducing crime.

The following pages discuss the challenges and pitfalls facing urban police forces. The evidence presented describes the varying levels of financial support police receive from their communities and details changes in their public image. There are some obvious explanations for the differing levels of fiscal support for city police forces: the size and density of the city population, the city revenue base, and the crime rate, for example. But other explanations for these variations are surprising--differing social contexts in major regions of the United States, in large and small cities, and in different time periods.

The history, traditions, socioeconomic traits, and racial and ethnic population mix of each social context influence the expectations held for police officers: Whether police are expected to be the primary enforcers of law and order or to be "community relations officers"; whether they are expected to use the necessary level of force to establish control, or to avoid physical force whenever possible and refrain from deadly force; whether or not police departments are pressured to recruit a force reflective of the community's racial and ethnic mix.

Public support for social control is also a consequence of the degree of intergroup tension and conflict in a city. Both historical evidence and current . . .

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