Exploring the Policy Implications of High‐Profile Police Violence

Publisher: Criminology & Public Policy, vol. 17, issue 4
Nov 30, 2018
Authors
Johanna Lacoe and Jillian Stein

High-profile incidents of police violence can translate into shifts in public perceptions of police and behavior. For example, sense of obligation to obey the law, perceived trustworthiness of the police, and perceptions of procedural justice can change. This policy essay responds to an article examining how police brutality influences local residents. The authors explore three potential behavioral responses to high-profile incidents of police violence: (1) increased crime, as a result of increased disregard for the rule of law; (2) decreased crime reporting, as a result of distrust of police or increased fear of interactions with them; and (3) increased toxic stress levels in communities already burdened by disadvantage. They note the importance of accurately measuring shifts in public opinion and perceived legitimacy of law enforcement in the years ahead, as jurisdictions attempt to improve community–police relations and the overall efficacy of policing.