Bad news

Kevin Lewis

October 05, 2018

Does Rape Culture Predict Rape? Evidence from U.S. Newspapers, 2000-2013
Matthew Baum, Dara Kay Cohen & Yuri Zhukov
Quarterly Journal of Political Science, August 2018, Pages 263-289


We offer the first quantitative analysis of rape culture in the United States. Observers have long worried that biased news coverage of rape - which blames victims, empathizes with perpetrators, implies consent, and questions victims' credibility - may deter victims from coming forward, and ultimately increase the incidence of rape. We present a theory of how rape culture might shape the preferences and choices of perpetrators, victims and law enforcement, and test this theory with data on news stories about rape published in U.S. newspapers between 2000 and 2013. We find that rape culture in the media predicts both the frequency of rape and its pursuit through the local criminal justice system. In jurisdictions where rape culture was more prevalent, there were more documented rape cases, but authorities were less vigilant in pursuing them.

Agency Correlates of Police Militarization: The Case of MRAPs
Brett Burkhardt & Keith Baker
Police Quarterly, forthcoming


In 2014, protests in Ferguson, Missouri (MO), and the subsequent law enforcement response, shined a light on police militarization - the adoption of military styles, equipment, and tactics within law enforcement. Since 1990, the U.S. Department of Defense has transferred excess military equipment to domestic law enforcement agencies via the federal 1033 program. This article examines transfers of mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles or MRAPs. Designed to withstand explosive blasts during U.S. military occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, surplus MRAPs have been shipped to more than 800 domestic law enforcement agencies. This article uses national data on law enforcement agencies and on 1033 program transfers to analyze the pattern of MRAP distribution. The results show that MRAPs are disproportionately acquired by agencies that have warrior tendencies and rely on asset forfeiture to generate revenue. This pattern of militarization is consistent with a model of governance that views citizens as both opportunities and threats.

Representative Bureaucracy, Race, and Policing: A Survey Experiment
Norma Riccucci, Gregg Van Ryzin & Karima Jackson
Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, October 2018, Pages 506-518


Employing a theoretical framework of symbolic representation, our study examines whether varying the representation of black police officers in local agencies influences how black and white citizens judge the agency’s performance, trustworthiness, and fairness in terms of civilian complaints of police misconduct. We use an online survey experiment in which we vary the representation of black officers in a hypothetical police department and also vary the agency’s complaints of police misconduct, including stop-and-frisk practices. Results show that perceived performance, trust, and fairness increases among black citizens when the police force is composed of mostly black officers. For white citizens, however, the effect of greater black representation among the police is largely negative. The study further indicates that blacks may be more tolerant of increased police misconduct to the extent blacks are better represented in the police department. This research suggests that the symbolic representativeness of the police does causally influence how citizens view and judge law enforcement agencies.

Race and the Likelihood of Intimate Partner Violence Arrest and Dual Arrest
Philip McCormack & David Hirschel
Race and Justice, forthcoming


Research on the impact of race on the likelihood an incident of intimate partner violence will result in arrest is mixed. Some scholars find racial minorities to be at lower risk of arrest, some find racial minorities to be at higher risk of arrest, and some find no difference in arrest likelihood based on race of the involved parties. Using a data set comprising 10 years of National Incident-Based Reporting System data (2000-2009) from 5,481 jurisdictions in 36 states and the District of Columbia, the authors examine the impact of victim and offender race on the likelihood of arrest and dual arrest. Accounting for such factors as seriousness of offense, location, and sex, the authors found that there are significant differences in the likelihood of arrest and dual arrest based on the victim and offender racial dyad. Generally, regardless of offender race, incidents with a White victim evince the highest likelihood of arrest, while interracial incidents involving a Black offender and White victim evince the lowest likelihood of dual arrest. Research and policy implications of these findings are discussed.

Predicting Active Shooter Events: Are Regional Homogeneity, Intolerance, Dull Lives, and More Guns Enough Deterrence?
Richard Duque, E.J. LeBlanc & Robert Rivera
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming


Based upon a secondary analysis of 2016 General Social Survey (GSS) data, this study identifies regional “Heterogeneity”, “Tolerance”, “Life is Exciting”, “Lack of Confidence in Institutions” and “Gun Ownership” effects related to the frequency of Active Shooter events, which occurred in the United States between 2000 to 2016. For Education Active Shooters, regional homogeneity is related to more tragic events as is less gun ownership per capita. For Workplace Active Shooters, more gun ownership per capita is associated with more events as is regional diversity and tolerance. The findings support calls for arming schools in white, affluent neighborhoods as well as more aggressively profiling, arresting and convicting potential White perpetrators in order to reduce the risk of Education Active Shooters. Meanwhile, stronger gun control measures in diverse and tolerant regions might reduce the incidents of Workplace Active Shooter events. The findings also suggest that organizations should acquire digital “Human Analytics” platforms and programs that integrate internal member profiles, conflict incident reports and culture climate data along with relevant regional and national data like that analyzed in this paper to help alert them to their dynamic Active Shooter risk. Also, re-evaluating diversity training seminars and courses, which often cast teen and middle-aged, White males as historical “villains”, might help address the chronic strain this population experiences at school and at work. Finally, re-evaluating how disassociated White males are treated, as well as expelled/fired from school or work, might also help defuse the “popcorn effect” associated with these tragic events.

The Relationship Between Individual Characteristics, Quality of Confinement and Recidivism by Offenders Released From Privately and Publicly Managed Residential Community Corrections Facilities
Terrence Alladin & Don Hummer
Prison Journal, forthcoming


This study examines Commonwealth of Pennsylvania state prison data on inmates released to a term of residential community corrections in either a publicly or privately managed institution (n = 7,204). Analyses indicate significant associations of race, facility orderliness, extent of educational/vocational programming, and type of facility management (Commonwealth or a private provider) with an offender’s subsequent reincarceration. Results demonstrate that private entity cost efficiency and effectiveness claims are not supported, and the growth of the private sector in Pennsylvania residential community corrections may even be having a detrimental effect on desistence efforts.

Policing Through Subsidized Firepower: An Assessment of Rational Choice and Minority Threat Explanations of Police Participation in the 1033 Program
David Ramey & Trent Steidley
Criminology, forthcoming


There is a popular belief that the use of military equipment can improve police efforts at social control. Recent protests and riots across the country, however, have piqued public concern about racial disparities in law enforcement and the acquisition and use of military equipment by police in the United States. By using data from the Department of Defense's 1033 Program, we conduct an agency‐level analysis to assess the validity of rational choice arguments and minority threat explanations of police participation in the 1033 Program. Our results reveal that higher violent crime rates and lower drug arrest rates increase law enforcement participation in the 1033 Program. Participation in the 1033 Program, however, is also a function of minority threat, with the functional form of minority threat varying across models predicting 1033 participation and the value of materiel acquired by successful departments. Specifically, a curvilinear relationship exists between the relative size of the Black population and involvement in the 1033 Program, and an exponential relationship between the relative size of the Black and Hispanic populations and the value of property departments receive annually from the 1033 Program.

Enforcing Race: A Neighborhood-Level Explanation of Black-White Differences in Drug Arrests
Shytierra Gaston
Crime & Delinquency, forthcoming


This research investigates the source of Black-White differences in drug arrests by conducting a neighborhood-level test of the differential police scrutiny and racially discriminatory policing hypotheses. The study examines drug arrests made across 78 neighborhoods in St. Louis between 2009 and 2013. Results from the negative binomial regression analyses lend the greatest support to the racially discriminatory policing perspective. Neighborhood racial composition significantly shapes drug law enforcement practices, net of neighborhood-level violent and property crime rates, drug-related calls for service by citizens, and socioeconomic disadvantage. Specifically, findings suggest that officers engage in “out-of-place” racial profiling in drug law enforcement, as they tend to target suspects whose race is incongruent with the neighborhood racial context. Implications of the study findings are discussed.

In Guns We Trust: A Reexamination of the Collective Security Hypothesis
James Kelsay et al.
Criminal Justice and Behavior, forthcoming


This study reexamines the collective security hypothesis of gun ownership using data collected from residents of the city of Detroit, Michigan. In addition, we seek to determine whether the effects of perceptions of police, fear of crime, and victimization on individual-level gun ownership are attenuated by neighborhood levels of informal social control. Our findings indicate that police satisfaction remains a robust predictor of gun ownership, in that those who are less satisfied with police are more likely to own a firearm for defensive purposes. Moreover, the effects of this variable remain unaffected by the inclusion of informal social control. These results confirm a number of previously identified correlates of gun ownership remain influential and suggest that improving perceptions of police among the public may lead to fewer firearms in circulation among the public.

How prior information and police experience impact decisions to shoot
David Johnson, Joseph Cesario & Timothy Pleskac
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, October 2018, Pages 601-623


Social psychologists have relied on computerized shooting tasks to test whether race influences decisions to shoot. These studies reveal that under some conditions untrained individuals shoot unarmed Black men more than unarmed White men. We modeled the decision to shoot as a sequential sampling process in which people start out with prior biases and accumulate evidence over time until a threshold is reached, prompting a decision. We used this approach to test how prior information (a proxy for police dispatch information) and police experience influence racial bias in shooting decisions. When no prior information was given, target race biased the rate at which untrained civilians accumulated evidence, leading to a greater rate of shooting Black targets. For sworn police officers, the race of the target impacted prior bias, but not evidence accumulation. Moreover, officers showed no race bias in the observed decision to shoot. For both untrained civilians and sworn police officers, prior information about a target’s race was sufficient to eliminate racial bias in shooting decisions both at the process and behavioral level. These studies reveal that factors present in real-world shooting decisions (dispatch information and police experience) can moderate the role that race plays both in the underlying cognitive processes and ultimately on the observed decision. We discuss the benefits of using a dynamic cognitive model to understand the decision to shoot and the implications of these results for laboratory analogues of real-world decisions.

Race, crime, and emotions
Camille Burge & Gbemende Johnson
Research & Politics, August 2018


Experimental research on racial attitudes examines how Whites’ stereotypes of Black Americans shape their attitudes about the death penalty, violent crime, and other punitive measures. Marginally discussed in the race-to-crime literature are Blacks’ perceptions of retribution and justice. We fill this void by using an original survey experiment of 900 Black Americans to examine how exposure to intra- and- intergroup violent crime shapes their policy attitudes and emotional reactions to crime. We find that Black Americans are more likely to support increased prison sentences for violent crimes when the perpetrator is White and the victim is Black, and reduced sentences for “Black-on-Black” crime. Our analyses further reveal that Black people express higher levels of anger when the victim is Black and the perpetrator is White; levels of shame and anger also increase in instances of Black-on-Black crime. Given current race relations in the United States, we conclude by speculating about how these emotional reactions might shape one’s willingness to participate in the political arena.

Unlocking Amenities: Estimating Public-Good Complementarity
David Albouy, Peter Christensen & Ignacio Sarmiento-Barbieri
NBER Working Paper, September 2018


Our results indicate that improving safety near parks can turn them from public bads to goods. Ignoring complementarities may lead to i) undervaluing the potential value of public goods; ii) overestimating heterogeneity in preferences; and iii) understating the value of public goods to low income households. Recent reductions in crime have “unlocked” $3 billion in property value in these three cities. Still over half of the potential value of park proximity (approximately $9 billion) remains locked in.


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