Minority Police Representation and Violent Crime across Different Racial/Ethnic Neighborhoods

David M. Ramey, Pennsylvania State University

To date, there has been scant research considering how racial/ethnic representation in local police agencies contributes to crime across different types of neighborhoods. Drawing from research on racial residential segregation, political representation, and neighborhood crime, I use data from the National Neighborhood Crime Study (NNCS) to argue that minority police representation is associated with lower rates of violent crime in minority, but not White, neighborhoods. Additionally, I draw from arguments that connect political and social representation to local levels of violence to argue that higher levels of minority police representation reduce the gaps in violent and property crime between minority and White neighborhoods. Furthermore, I argue that this reduction is not due to higher levels of arrest or crime in White neighborhoods. Rather, I suggest that it is driven by lower levels of violent and property crime in predominately African-American and Latino neighborhoods in cities with larger minority police representation.

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Presented in Session 99: Demography of Crime