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Effect of Urban Neighborhood Disorder on Evaluations of the Police and Courts

NCJ Number
Jane B. Sprott; Anthony N. Doob
Date Published
July 2009
24 pages
This study examined Canadian adults dissatisfaction with the courts and police about crime and disorder in their neighborhoods.
Are people dissatisfied with the courts as well as the police when they perceive high levels of disorder in their neighborhoods? Consistent with previous research, this study, using a representative sample of Canadian adults, demonstrates that people are significantly more negative about the police when they perceive high levels of disorder. They are not, however, more negative toward the courts when confronted with these social problems. It is possible that they have heard the police rhetoricnamely, that the police form the "thin blue line" between order and chaos. Although the public holds the police and the courts responsible for increasing rates of crime, victimization, and fear, they do not see the courts as being responsible for neighborhood disorder, which they see as being the sole responsibility of the police. (Published Abstract)