Latino Public Opinion & Perception

Does Perception of Disorder in Neighborhoods Play a Role in Latinos’ Sense of Police Misconduct?

Neighborhood watch sign

Neighborhood watch sign

Several studies have linked opinion of the police to residents’ perceptions of levels of disorder and crime in their neighborhood. The U.S. Department of Justice published a report in 2003 finding this factor to be the most telling one, since “residents’ opinion of police performance did not vary by race or ethnicity in disorderly neighborhoods” (Maxson, Hennigan & Sloane 2003).

McCluskey, McCluskey & Enriquez divided levels of satisfaction with the police into neighborhoods by characteristics of social and physical disorder. They found that police misconduct is more often reported by African Americans and Latinos who experience it than whites, and they came to the conclusion that the effect of neighborhood disorder is a more important factor on its residents’ opinion of the police than their ethnicity (McCluskey, McCluskey, & Enriquez, 2008). Cochran and Warren agree, suggesting, “Rifts between the police and citizens may be primarily focused in African American communities. Racial profiling in the United States has been traditionally geared toward the relationship between Black citizens and the police, and only until recently have Hispanic citizens been linked to biased experiences with and perceptions of the police” (Cochran & Warren, 2012). All of these findings suggest that neighborhood context, community culture, and perceptions of crime and disorder inform perceptions of police (Schafer, Huebner, & Bynum, 2003).

Works Cited

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