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Social ecology and police discretion: The influence of district crime, cynicism, and workload on the vigor of police response


  • Sobol, James J.


This study provided a partial test of Klinger's (1997) postulations on the ecological correlates of police vigor using data drawn from the Project on Policing Neighborhoods (POPN). Klinger's theory hypothesized that a form of police behavior he called vigor would vary inversely with district crime levels because officers would be more cynical of residents, view crime as normal, perceive victims as less deserving, and have less time to devote to calls in high crime districts. Although data limitations precluded a full test, the current study examined two of the four mediating variables (officer cynicism and district workload) and their influence on the crime/vigor relationship. Findings revealed variables other than those examined might mediate the effect of district crime on vigor or the relationship between district crime and vigor might be spurious. Implications for future research and theoretical development are discussed.

Suggested Citation

  • Sobol, James J., 2010. "Social ecology and police discretion: The influence of district crime, cynicism, and workload on the vigor of police response," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 38(4), pages 481-488, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:jcjust:v:38:y::i:4:p:481-488

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Sun, Ivan Y. & Payne, Brian K. & Wu, Yuning, 2008. "The impact of situational factors, officer characteristics, and neighborhood context on police behavior: A multilevel analysis," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 22-32, March.
    2. Brown, Robert A. & Novak, Kenneth J. & Frank, James, 2009. "Identifying variation in police officer behavior between juveniles and adults," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 37(2), pages 200-208, March.
    3. Weitzer, Ronald, 2000. "White, black, or blue cops? Race and citizen assessments of police officers," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 313-324.
    4. Micucci, Anthony J. & Gomme, Ian M., 2005. "American police and subcultural support for the use of excessive force," Journal of Criminal Justice, Elsevier, vol. 33(5), pages 487-500.
    5. J. Scott Long & Jeremy Freese, 2006. "Regression Models for Categorical Dependent Variables using Stata, 2nd Edition," Stata Press books, StataCorp LP, edition 2, number long2, December.
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