Experience, quality of life, and neighborhood context: A hierarchical analysis of satisfaction with police

Michael D. Reisig, Roger B. Parks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We test three different conceptual models - "experience with police," "quality of life," and "neighborhood context" - for directional accuracy and ability to explain satisfaction with the police. We also investigate whether these models help to explain the common finding that African-Americans are more dissatisfied with the police than are Caucasians. To do so, we use hierarchical linear modeling to simultaneously regress our outcome measure on clusters of citizen- and neighborhood-level variables. The analysis was conducted using recently collected information from the Project on Policing Neighborhoods (POPN). The data file consisted of survey responses from 5,361 citizens residing in 58 neighborhoods located in Indianapolis, Indiana and St. Petersburg, Florida. At the citizen level, the psychologically based "quality of life" model accounts for the greatest proportion of explained variance and provides the greatest directional accuracy. Also, residents of neighborhoods characterized by concentrated disadvantage express significantly less satisfaction with the police. In addition, neighborhood context reduces the negative effect of African-American status on satisfaction with police when a sparse citizen-level specification is used; racial variation in satisfaction with police persists, however, when citizen-level hierarchical models are specified more fully.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)575-629
Number of pages55
JournalJustice Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law


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