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Mastrofski, Stephen D., Roger B. Parks, Robert E. Worden, and Albert J. Jr. Reiss. Project on Policing Neighborhoods in Indianapolis, Indiana, and St. Petersburg, Florida, 1996-1997 [Computer File]. ICPSR03160-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political Social Research [distributor], 2007-06-01. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR03160.v2

Data Collection Notes:

(1) The narrative descriptions of the ride-alongs are not available as part of this collection, (2) Following the "rule of ten" guidelines used by the POPN researchers, users of the data should make no attributions to an officer (or group of officers) with specified characteristics unless at least ten officers in the sample share the same characteristics.


Study Purpose:  In the broadest sense, the purpose of the Project on Policing Neighborhoods (POPN) was to provide an in-depth description of how the police and the community interact with each other in a community policing (CP) environment. Data were collected to facilitate studies on the following issues: (1) how patrol officers spend their time, (2) how officers use their authority to intervene in citizens' lives, (3) how problem citizens are controlled, (4) how civility and cooperation between police and public is obtained, (5) what officer characteristics are associated with high CP performance, (6) the role of first-line supervisors, (7) the context for street-level performance set by management, and (8) how patterns of policing vary among neighborhoods and the impact they have on neighborhood quality of life. For this study, "neighborhood" in operational terms meant the patrol beat. Indianapolis used the term "beat" and St. Petersburg used the term "community policing area" (CPA) to define the smallest geographical space to which an individual officer would be assigned patrol responsibilities.

Study Design:  Research was conducted in Indianapolis, Indiana, in 1996 and in St. Petersburg, Florida, in 1997. Several research methods were employed: systematic observation of patrol officers (Parts 1-4) and patrol supervisors (Parts 5-14), in-person interviews with patrol officers (Part 15) and supervisors (Parts 16-17), and telephone surveys of residents in selected neighborhoods (Part 18). Field researchers accompanied their assigned officer during all activities and encounters with the public during the shift. Field researchers noted when various activities and encounters with the public occurred during these "ride-alongs," who was involved, and what happened. Back at the project offices, these field notes formed that basis for narrative descriptions of the events, and observers also coded numeric data on specific elements of the ride, events, and participants. Patrol observation data are provided at the ride level, the activity level, the encounter level, and the citizen level. Activity data focused on police activities that did not involve interaction with citizens. These typically include administrative duties, roll call, travel (en route to scene), general patrol, and personal activities, such as meals. Activity records are nested within rides. Encounter data contain events in which the officers interacted with citizens. Encounters are subclassified into full, brief, and casual encounters. Encounters are nested within rides. Citizen data describe the citizens involved in encounters with the police. Citizen records are nested within encounters. In addition to encounters with citizens, supervisors also engaged in encounters with patrol officers. Patrol officers and patrol supervisors in both Indianapolis and St. Petersburg were interviewed one-on-one in a private interviewing room during their regular work shifts. The patrol officer and supervisor interview instruments were similar, and interviews were normally completed in 20-25 minutes. Citizens in the POPN study beats were randomly selected for telephone surveys to determine their views about problems in their neighborhood and other community issues. Administrative records were used to create site identification data (Part 19) and data on staffing (Part 20). This data collection also includes data compiled from census records, aggregated to the beat level for each site (Part 21). Census data were also used to produce district populations for both sites (Part 22). Citizen data were aggregated to the encounter level to produce counts of various citizen role categories and characteristics and characteristics of the encounter between the patrol officer and citizens in the various encounters (Part 23).

Sample:  Indianapolis and St. Petersburg were chosen according to specific criteria. A sampling plan of the neighborhoods in each city was designed to ensure variation in the service conditions of police, using socioeconomic features of neighborhoods as proxies for those conditions. Residents in the POPN study beats were randomly selected for the citizen survey.

Data Source:

observations, personal interviews, telephone interviews, administrative records, and data from the United States Census Bureau

Description of Variables:  Ride-level data (Parts 1, 5, and 10) contain information about characteristics of the ride, including start and end times, officer identification, type of unit, and beat assignment. Activity data (Parts 2, 6, and 11) include type of activity, where and when the activity took place, who was present, and how the officer was notified. Encounter data (Parts 3, 7, and 12) contain descriptive information on encounters similar to the activity data (i.e., location, initiation of encounter). Citizen data (Parts 4, 8, and 13) provide citizen characteristics, citizen behavior, and police behavior toward citizens. Similarly, officer data from the supervisor observations (Parts 9 and 14) include characteristics of the supervising officer and the nature of the interaction between the officers. Both the patrol officer and supervisor interview data (Parts 15-17) include the officers' demographics, training and knowledge, experience, perceptions of their beats and organizational environment, and beliefs about the police role. The patrol officer data also provide the officers' perceptions of their supervisors while the supervisor data describe supervisors' perceptions of their subordinates, as well as their views about their roles, power, and priorities as supervisors. Data from surveyed citizens (Part 18) provide information about their neighborhoods, including years in the neighborhood, distance to various places in the neighborhood, neighborhood problems and effectiveness of police response to those problems, citizen knowledge of, or interactions with, the police, satisfaction with police services, and friends and relatives in the neighborhood. Citizen demographics and geographic and weight variables are also included. Site identification variables (Part 19) include ride and encounter numbers, site beat (site, district, and beat or community policing areas [CPA]), and sector. Staffing variables (Part 20) include district, shift, and staffing levels for various shifts. Census data (Part 21) include neighborhood, index of socioeconomic distress, total population, and total white population. District population variables (Part 22) include district and population of district. The aggregated citizen data (Part 23) provide the ride and encounter numbers, number of citizens in the encounter, counts of citizens by their various roles, and by sex, age, race, wealth, if known by the police, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, physically injured, had a weapon, or assaulted the police, counts by type of encounter, and counts of police and citizen actions during the encounter.

Response Rates:  The response rate for the patrol officer surveys was 93 percent in Indianapolis and 98 percent in St. Petersburg. For the patrol supervisor surveys the response rate was 93 percent in Indianapolis and 100 percent in St. Petersburg. The response rate for the citizen surveys was 53 percent in Indianapolis and 42 percent in St. Petersburg.

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