Public-safety concerns among law enforcement agencies in Suburban and Rural America

Joseph B. Kuhns, Edward R. Maguire, Stephen M. Cox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Contingency theory argues that the performance of an organization is contingent on how well it fits the context within which it is embedded. This study explores the public-safety concerns of nearly 6,000 law enforcement agencies serving populations less than 50,000. Property offenses, domestic violence, and drugs were the most frequently reported concerns, whereas gangs and violent crimes were often ranked lower. Rankings of public-safety concerns varied across agencies and were affected by population density, violent and property crime, type of agency, department size, and region. Findings suggest that the context in which police organizations are located plays a role in shaping public-safety concerns, which is an important step in broadening our knowledge about the priorities, goals, and behaviors of police organizations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)429-454
Number of pages26
JournalPolice Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Community policing
  • Crime
  • Law enforcement
  • Public safety
  • Small towns

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Public-safety concerns among law enforcement agencies in Suburban and Rural America'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this