Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 8-5-2009

Journal / Book Title

An International Journal of Research and Policy


The current investigation extends previous work on citizens' perceptions of police performance. It examines the origins of between-community differences in concerned citizens' judgments that police are responding sufficiently to a local social problem. The problem is local unsupervised teen groups, a key indicator for both the revised systemic social disorganization perspective and the incivilities thesis. Four theoretical perspectives predict ecological determinants of these shared judgments. Less perceived police responsiveness is anticipated in lower socioeconomic status (SES) police districts by both a political economy and a stratified incivilities perspective; more predominantly minority police districts by a racialized justice perspective; and in higher crime police districts by a proposed extension of Klinger's ecology of policing model. The current work improves upon earlier conflicting work in this area in several ways; most importantly it distinguishes between the perceived need for police and perceived police responsiveness. Survey, census and crime data from Philadelphia were used. Results showed residents concerned about this problem and living in lower SES police districts or higher violent crime police districts judged police as less responsive. Results supported the political economy and stratified incivilities models and to a lesser extent the proposed extension of Klinger's ecology of policing perspective. Implications for broader understandings of community variation in citizens' reactions to police, and for national programmes to improve police responsiveness, were noted.


DOI: 10.1080/10439461003668492

Published Citation

Taylor, Ralph B., Christopher E. Kelly, and Christopher Salvatore. "Where concerned citizens perceive police as more responsive to troublesome teen groups: Theoretical implications for political economy, incivilities and policing." Policing & Society 20.2 (2010): 143-171.