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Note on the Historical Relationship Between the Economy and Police Organizational Activities

NCJ Number
Criminal Justice Review Volume: 9 Issue: 2 Dated: (Fall 1984) Pages: 47-52
R Surrette
Date Published
6 pages
Works which have examined the relationship between economic conditions and the criminal justice system have usually attempted to explain criminality within specific, short term time periods. Conclusions based upon these efforts have been mixed and ambiguous.
This present study uses Chicago Police Department variables as indicators of organizational activities and investigates the duration and persistence of relationships between selected economic conditions and police organizational measures. Nearly 100 years of annual City of Chicago data are examined in a two step, lagged, time series regression analysis. The findings show that a persistent historical relationship exists between vagrancy arrests and economic conditions but does not exist between felony/misdemeanor arrests or number of police employees and economic conditions. This present study suggest support for the previous findings of Chambliss (1964, 1976), Welford (1974), and Land and Felson (1976), and reveals the necessity of further model development in specifying the historical interaction between the economy and the criminal justice system. Lastly, it points to the value of developing and analysing long term historical data bases. (Author abstract)