Bringing Crime Back In: Toward a Better Understanding of Police Arrest Decisions

The article comments on a study published in the August 1996 issue of the "Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency" on suspects' demeanor and its impact on police action. The "discovery" that police officers did not fully enforce the criminal law coincided with the arri...

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Bibliographic Details
Main Author: Klinger, David A.
Format: Electronic/Print Article
Language:English
Published: 1996
In:Journal of research in crime and delinquency
Year: 1996, Volume: 33, Issue: 3, Pages: 333-336
Online Access: doi
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Availability in Tübingen:Present in Tübingen.
IFK: In: Z 31
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Summary:The article comments on a study published in the August 1996 issue of the "Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency" on suspects' demeanor and its impact on police action. The "discovery" that police officers did not fully enforce the criminal law coincided with the arrival of the conflict perspectives on the criminological scene. This happenstance had a tremendous impact on the social scientific search for understanding of how and why the police actually exercise their arrest powers. The core claim of conflict and labeling theories-that extralegal considerations play a pivotal role in the operation of formal social control-led police researchers to focus their hunt for the determinants of arrest on factors other than criminal conduct. The recent studies add substantially to our meager knowledge about the crime-arrest link by demonstrating that crime plays a far bigger role in arrest decisions than previous research had indicated. Recent research indicates that, by bringing crime back in as a central variable in the study of arrest, future research can provide a clearer picture of the relative effects of crime and extralegal variables. Such a development would increase substantially our understanding of police arrest decisions
ISSN:0022-4278