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Contacts Between Police and the Public, 2015

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2018
1 page
Elizabeth Davis; Anthony Whyde; Lynn Langton
Publication Series
Publication Type
Survey, Statistics, Report (Annual/Periodic)
This summary report from the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) presents data for 2015 on the number and percentages of the U.S. population ages 16 or older who had any contact with police, by type of contact, and reason.
The portion of U.S. residents age 16 or older who had contact with police in the preceding 12 months declined from 26 percent in 2011 to 21 percent in 2015, a decrease of just over 9 million people (from 62.9 million to 53.5 million). The number of persons who experienced a police-initiated contact decreased by 8 million (down 23 percent), and the number of persons who initiated contact with the police fell by 6 million (down 19 percent), The number who had contact from traffic accidents did not change significantly. Whites (23 percent) were more likely than Blacks (20 percent) or Hispanics (17 percent) to have contact with police. Police were equally likely to initiate contact with Blacks and Whites (11 percent each), but were less likely to initiate contact with Hispanics (9 percent). Also, police were more likely to initiate contact with males (12 percent) than with females (9 percent); however, females (11 percent) were more likely than males (10 percent) to initiate contact with police. Of the 223.3 million people who experienced a police-initiated contact, 8.6 were driving a vehicle when the contact occurred. Blacks (9.8 percent) were more likely than Whites (8.6 percent) and Hispanics (7.6 percent) to be the driver in a traffic stop. A higher percentage of Blacks (1.5 percent experienced street stops than Whites (0.9 percent) and Hispanics (0.9 percent). Data are also provided on residents' perceptions of police behavior and police use of a non-fatal threat or the use of force, distinguished by race and sex.
Date Created: October 11, 2018