A Gallup poll released on Wednesday shows that 81 percent of black Americans want the police presence to remain the same or increase in their neighborhood or area. According to the poll, “67 percent of all U.S. adults” also prefer the “status quo” when it comes to local police presence.
“Most Black Americans want the police to spend at least as much time in their area as they currently do, indicating that they value the need for the service that police provide,” the poll concludes.
Eighty-three percent of Hispanic Americans and 88 percent of white Americans share similar attitudes. In contrast, only 72 percent of Asian Americans say they would prefer increased or the same amount of police presence in their neighborhoods.
After an examination of factors such as volume and frequency of police interactions, however, researchers determined that neither were the most significant factor in dictating black Americans’ attitudes towards police presence in their area.
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While “exposure comes with more trepidation for Black than White or Hispanic Americans about what they might experience in a police encounter,” poll analysis suggests that “simply having an interaction with the police in the past year has no bearing on black Americans’ preference for local police presence in their area.”
In cases where black Americans see police in their neighborhood, there is a “limited impact” on determining increased, the same, or decreased police appearances in their area.
“The slightly elevated frequency with which Black Americans see police in their neighborhood has limited impact on their preferences for changing the local police presence,” the poll explains. “About a third of Black Americans who say they often see the police in their neighborhood think the police should spend less time there (34%); however, the majority of adults in this group think they should spend the same amount of time (56%) or more time (10%).”
The most significant factor in determining attitudes towards police presence, according to Gallup is the “quality of the interaction.”
While “fewer than one in five Black Americans feel very confident that the police in their area would treat them with courtesy and respect,” only 13 percent of black Americans who were “treated respectfully” favor decreased police presence in their area while 87 percent want the same or increased number and frequency of police.
“Those harboring the least confidence that they will be treated well, or who have had negative encounters in the past, are much more likely to want the police presence curtailed,” the poll concludes.
A previous Gallup poll released in late July showed that only 22 percent of black Americans approved of abolishing police departments, while 90 percent showed great interest in “specific reforms aimed at improving police relations with the communities they serve and preventing or punishing abusive police behavior.”