Changing the Narrative

Police-Community Partnerships and Racial Reconciliation

Published in: Justice Quarterly (2019). doi: 10.1080/07418825.2019.1568520

Posted on RAND.org on September 20, 2019

by Jessica Saunders, Beau Kilmer

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Police-community relations are strained in the United States, especially along racial lines. This paper assesses community perceptions of crime and the police before and after the implementation of an intervention aimed at eliminating overt drug markets through focused deterrence and police-community partnerships emphasizing racial reconciliation. Mail surveys were sent to every household living within a two-mile radius of the block group where the intervention took place and we estimate differences-in-differences OLS models to examine whether the intervention changed perceptions of crime and police trust and legitimacy. Relative to non-black respondents, black respondents perceived a reduction in non-violent crimes and disorder as well as less racial profiling after the intervention; these results are robust to a number of robustness checks. We did not observe a change with respect to perceptions of police effectiveness, fairness, or other measures of police legitimacy.

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