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Citizen Perceptions of the Legitimacy of Traffic Stops

NCJ Number
Journal of Criminal Justice Volume: 38 Issue: 4 Dated: July/August 2010 Pages: 589-594
John Allen; Elizabeth Monk-Turner
Date Published
July 2010
6 pages
This study explored the legitimacy of traffic stops based on race.
Lundman and Kaufman (2003) reported that Black drivers were less likely than others to report that police made legitimate stops or that officers acted properly during traffic stops. The present work explored whether these results held when other variables were included in the model. Utilizing data drawn from a convenience sample, results show that being Black is not determinant in an expanded model aiming to better understand citizens' perceptions of the legitimacy of traffic stops. Rather, size of place, time of day, and the race of the officer appeared to mediate the effect of "driving while Black." Still, Black drivers had lower odds of reporting police acted properly during the traffic stop in either our basic or expanded model. (Published Abstract)