UNDERSTANDING THE PROCEDURAL JUSTICE IMPLICATIONS OF MACRO-LEVEL POLICE POLICIES: EVIDENCE FROM LONGITUDINAL POLICE AND JUVENILE OFFENDER DATA
Collins, Megan Eileen
Loughran, Thomas A
MetadataShow full item record
In response to a series of high profile conflicts between police and the communities they serve, President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing recommended that law enforcement agencies adopt procedural justice as a guiding principle to inform their policies. While there is general agreement about the importance of procedural justice in shaping an individual’s view of their encounters with police, it remains unclear how the many police policies that are already in place affect citizens’ perceptions of police procedural justice. This dissertation seeks to understand how a common police policy—sending more officers to the areas with the most crime—impacts perceptions of procedural justice, so that policies formed with the goal of enhancing perceptions of procedural justice might be better informed. This study exploits quasi-experimental conditions that resulted from the selective implementation of the Philadelphia Police Department’s 2008 Crime Fighting Strategy (CFS) in only nine of their twenty-three police districts. In doing so, the effect of sending more police officers to high crime areas on perceptions of police procedural justice can be estimated. While many have sought to estimate the impact of more police on offending and delinquency externalities, this particular question has not yet been researched. Further, this research focuses specifically on the perceptions of serious adolescent offenders; this is critical, as offenders were ostensibly the intended target of the CFS, many of whom experience frequent and high stakes interactions with police. Findings indicate that serious adolescent offenders’ perceptions of procedural justice based on personal experiences do not operate in tandem with perceptions based on vicarious experiences, with the two measures displaying opposite signs when correlations with district level crime and socio-economic factors were estimated. The CFS did not appear to influence significant changes in adolescents’ perceptions of procedural justice when the treatment and control districts were compared, or when within-individual changes were estimated. Further, perceptions did not necessarily update as a function of moving from one district to another, as many of the individuals who remained in a single district also updated their perceptions. Implications and limitations of these findings are discussed.