Date of Award

7-1-1990

Degree Type

Thesis

University or Center

Clark Atlanta University(CAU)

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

Criminal Justice Administration

First Advisor

Dr. K. S. Murty

Abstract

The objective of this study is to examine the relationship between selected sociodemographic vari ables (age, gender, education, occupation, marital status), ecological variables (residence in low crime and high census tracks), and behavioral variables (respondents who had had trouble with the police and personal acquaintances who had had trouble with the police) among black Atlantans and their image of the police. The assumptions are: 1) more positive images of the police will be reported by older, white, married females who are highly educated and hold white collar occupations; 2) more negative images will be reported by respondents, as well as their personal acquaintances, who have had trouble with the police; 3) more negative images will be reported by respondents who reside in high crime census tracks than those residing in low crime census tracks.

The sample population used for this study consists of 621 randomly selected respondents from four predominantly black census tracks, two with the highest crime rate (180 and 200 index crime per 1,000 population) and two with the lowest crime rate (40 and 60 index crimes per 1,000 population. The data were collected by personal interviews.

Study results show that a larger proportion of black Atlantans rated the police as more honest but less effective in delivering community services than did blacks at the national level. Also, that residence is the single best predictor of police image, followed by marital status. Therefore policy-makers interested improving the image of the police need to focus on young, single residents in high crime census tracks. A more positive image by this group would improve their cooperation with the police; i.e., in policing within their particular communities, thus resulting in crime reduction and prevention.

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