Concerns about safety, observer sex, and the decision to arrest: Evidence of reactivity in a large-scale observational study of police

Richard Spano*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations

Abstract

Data from a large-scale observational study of police examined the impact of an observer's presence on patrol officer arrest behavior. One major theme within the descriptive data on reactivity (concerns about safety) was described as a series of anecdotes and specified in terms of its prevalence. Consistent with hypothesized effects, patrol officers who expressed concerns about safety were less likely to arrest suspects. Additional analyses also revealed that patrol officers were less likely to arrest when accompanied by female versus male observers and that there is a different pattern of acclimation that is contingent on a combination of observer sex and concerns about safety. The implications of these findings and suggestions for future research will also be considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)909-932
Number of pages24
JournalCriminology
Volume41
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2003

Keywords

  • Acclimation effects
  • Decision to arrest
  • Observer sex
  • Police observational data
  • Reactivity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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