Date of Award

January 2013

Degree Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Justice Studies

First Advisor

Kishonna L. Gray

Department Affiliation

Justice Studies

Abstract

Prior research has consistently demonstrated the role of race in understanding racial and ethnic differences in perceptions of the police. This research has overwhelmingly shown that Blacks and Latinos hold lower levels of trust and confidence in the police than do Whites and other racial minorities. The increased skepticism of the police expressed by minority citizens is commonly associated with racial profiling and documented racial disparities in police behavior. Although policing research has empirically demonstrated the influence of race on perceptions of the police, few studies have explored police perceptions from a rural context. By employing the Citizen's Attitudes Towards Police measure used by Frank, Smith, & Novak (2005), the purpose of this study is to examine whether rural context in evaluating police behavior diverges from what the urban context suggests. The results suggest that similar to Blacks in urban areas, lower-income Blacks hold negative views of police in general. This study also incorporates an intersectional analysis by interrogating the role of gender, age, and neighborhood context in influencing the Black's perceptions of police.

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