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Urban and Small Town Comparison of Citizen Demand for Police Services

NCJ Number
International Journal of Police Science and Management Volume: 11 Issue: 1 Dated: Spring 2009 Pages: 27-38
Richard R. Johnson; Trisha N. Rhodes
Date Published
12 pages
This study compared calls for service from three urban municipal police departments and three small town departments during a 2-week period.
Results reveal that small town agencies generally receive significantly more public service-related calls than urban agencies. The specific types of public service calls handled by urban and small town agencies are similar, suggesting that both agencies encounter many of the same citizen requests even though small town agencies receive a higher proportion of these types of calls. Also discovered was that urban agencies respond to significantly more order maintenance calls than do small town agencies. Nevertheless, the specific types of order maintenance calls handled by both types of agencies were similar. Finally, both urban and small town agencies generally handled similar proportions of calls related to law enforcement duties even though the specific types of law enforcement calls differed by agency type. While the majority of law enforcement-related calls handled by both the urban and the small town agencies dealt with minor offenses, the urban agencies generally dealt with slightly higher proportions of serious crimes. Regardless of whether an agency was urban or small town, notable variation was found in all of the individual agencies. This suggests that individual community differences must be considered in any discussions of typical urban or small town police departments. Data were collected for all dispatched calls on all six police agencies recorded between 12 a.m. on October 25, 2006 and 11:59 p.m. on November 7, 2006. 4 tables, 14 references, and 1 appendix