Satisfaction with Police: A Heirarchical Analysis of Race and Neighborhood Disadvantage
A growing literature finds that two factors, race and neighborhood disadvantage, commonly predict attitudes toward the police; both African-Americans and residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods tend to report lower levels of police satisfaction. Recently, multilevel studies have begun to examine whether these neighborhood-level factors attenuate the race effect - testing, in other words, if African-Americans are less satisfied with the police only because they are more likely to live in disadvantaged areas. This thesis expands on current research by not only examining race versus context, but also race via context. In other words, I test whether the effect of race on police satisfaction varies according to neighborhood disadvantage. Drawing on a number of theoretical perspectives, I predict that race matters more (i.e. the racial gap is wider) in neighborhoods marked by social and economic disadvantage. Multilevel modeling is employed to test this hypothesis using data from over 10,000 individuals in 60 neighborhoods.