Exploring the Relationship between Police Proactivity, Police Legitimacy, and Fear of Crime



Wire, Sean E

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This study uses the results from a community survey project in Baltimore to assess the relationship between street-level police proactivity and community outcomes, namely perceptions of police legitimacy and fear of crime. Police proactivity has been the subject of widespread criticism, specifically as it tends to concentrates at hot spots of crime, where residents may feel targeted and lead to strain in the community. However, the evidence for these criticisms is sparse and inconsistent. I employ a method of assessing police proactivity at the street level to contribute to the discussion of whether increased police proactivity inevitable leads to negative community outcomes, and whether these effects differ across different street segment contexts. Overall, I observe no significant decrease in police legitimacy or increase in fear of crime in areas with higher levels of police proactivity. However, in the highest crime streets, increased police proactivity is associated with increased perceptions of police legitimacy.



Policing, Legitimacy, Fear of crime, Proactivity