Chicago Community Survey

Project: Research project

Project Details


This proposal outlines some of the issues involved in fielding a community survey probing the relationship between police and the residents of Chicago. It would be a companion piece to our survey of Chicago police officers, which was conducted as part of an evaluation of new procedural justice initiatives at the Chicago Police Department (CPD). To date, all of IPR’s evaluation work has focused on the CPD, internally on their efforts to reform departmental processes, and externally on efforts to reinvigorate CAPS, the city’s community policing program. The community’s voice has to date been left out. However, when it comes to policing in Chicago the primary answer to the question “what is broken and need fixing” lies in their relationship with the community. Our last survey, conducted a decade ago with the support of NIJ, identified significant discontent with policing, even after a decade of CAPS activities. Divisions around race and immigrant status still loomed large, measured both by attitudes and by reports of the quality of police-citizen encounters that were captured by the survey. This proposal describes how a community survey could revisit these issues, in the context of a new reform effort that is much more explicitly focused on extending “procedural justice” to the community in the form of better routine police service. Police are being trained and managed – the latter in a more halting fashion that still is a work in progress – to deliver more procedurally just service when they respond to emergency calls and stop citizens on the street. The explicit goal of this effort is to increase the legitimacy of policing in the eyes of Chicagoans. The city hopes in turn to reap some of the list of benefits of legitimacy that have been identified in research. These include increased support among voters and taxpayers; the cooperation of the community in reporting crime and stepping forward as witnesses; participation in crime prevention projects; deference to the police and compliance with their directives; voluntary compliance with the law; reduced offending and recidivism; and increased confidence in the legitimacy of governmental institutions generally. The proposed survey would focus on many of these issues in some detail, and would identify changes in the public’s views of policing issues as this department initiative develops.
Effective start/end date9/1/138/31/17


  • John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation (13-105677-000-USP)


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