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Survey on Street Disorder in Large Municipalities in the United States, 1994-1996 (ICPSR 2479) RSS

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

The objective of this survey was to provide city officials and police with information on how to carry out street disorder enforcement strategies within the constitutional guidelines established by the courts. To that end, a survey of 512 municipal police departments was conducted in the spring of 1996. The agencies were asked to supply data for the current year as well as for 1994 and 1995. Information was collected on the existence of particular street disorder ordinances, when such ordinances were passed, the number of citations and arrests resulting from each ordinance, and whether the ordinances were challenged in court. Data covered the following types of street disorder: panhandling, open containers of alcohol, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, sleeping in public places, unregulated day labor solicitation, vending, dumpster diving, camping in public, and juvenile curfews. Departments were also asked about their written policies regarding certain types of street disorder. Other departmental information includes location, number of personnel, and population of jurisdiction.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

Dataset - Download All Files (1,013 KB)

Study Description

Citation

Conner, Roger, Robert Teir, and Richard Baum. SURVEY ON STREET DISORDER IN LARGE MUNICIPALITIES IN THE UNITED STATES, 1994-1996. ICPSR version. Washington, DC: Center for the Community Interest [producer], 1997. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 1999. doi:10.3886/ICPSR02479.v1

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Funding

This study was funded by:

  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. National Institute of Justice (95-IJ-CX-0050)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   arrests, cities, civil disorders, disorderly conduct, law enforcement, police departments, police officers, police response, policies and procedures

Geographic Coverage:   United States

Time Period:  

  • 1994--1996

Date of Collection:  

  • 1996

Unit of Observation:   Organizations.

Universe:   Police departments of large municipalities in the United States.

Data Types:   survey data

Data Collection Notes:

A user guide, a codebook, and data collection instruments are provided as a Portable Document Format (PDF) file. The PDF file format was developed by Adobe Systems Incorporated and can be accessed using PDF reader software, such as the Adobe Acrobat Reader. Information on how to obtain a copy of the Acrobat Reader is provided through the ICPSR Website on the Internet.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   Street disorder is a growing topic of concern in many American cities. Police departments, mayors, city councils, and prosecutors are facing an increased demand for action on panhandling, graffiti, camping in urban parks, sidewalk interference, excessive noise, public urination, street drug and prostitution markets, and loitering. This renewed interest in an old set of problems stems, in part, from the ambitious efforts under way in virtually every major city to revitalize central business districts and older commercial strips. The introduction of community policing has also played a part in bringing attention to this issue. Once officers began to ask, they discovered that "low-level crimes" were very important to the residents, small business owners, office workers, shoppers, and tourists, who are the life blood of central cities. In addition, research over the past 20 years related to the now well-known "broken windows" theory has provided a firm intellectual foundation for increased attention to quality-of-life issues. Despite the widespread interest in street disorder, some cities have been hesitant to act aggressively in this area for fear of expensive lawsuits. To give local leaders guidance on how to carry out disorder enforcement strategies within the constitutional guidelines established by the courts, a survey of 512 municipal police departments was conducted in the spring of 1996. The agencies were asked to supply data for the current year as well as for 1994 and 1995. The project was designed to answer three questions: (1) Do the large municipalities have local ordinances on certain antisocial behaviors? (2) If so, how and to what extent are these ordinances enforced? (3) What are the factors that affect enforcement?

Study Design:   To give local leaders guidance on how to carry out disorder enforcement strategies within the constitutional guidelines established by the courts, a survey of 512 municipal police departments was conducted. The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), in conjunction with the Center for the Community Interest, mailed the questionnaire in the spring of 1996 to all 512 police departments in municipalities with populations of 50,000 or more in the United States. Most of the responding agencies provided comments or sent copies of their ordinances.

Sample:   All 512 police departments in municipalities with populations of 50,000 or more in the United States were sampled.

Data Source:

self-enumerated questionnaires

Description of Variables:   Information was collected on the existence of particular street disorder ordinances, when such ordinances were passed, the number of citations and arrests resulting from each ordinance, and whether the ordinances were challenged in court. Data were collected on the following types of street disorder: panhandling, open containers of alcohol, public intoxication, disorderly conduct, sleeping in public places, unregulated day labor solicitation, vending, dumpster diving, camping in public, and juvenile curfews. Departments were also asked about their written policies regarding certain types of street disorder. Other departmental information includes location, number of personnel, and population of jurisdiction.

Response Rates:   The response rate was 76 percent.

Presence of Common Scales:   None.

Extent of Processing:  ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Standardized missing values.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Version(s)

Original ICPSR Release:  

Version History:

  • 2005-11-04 On 2005-03-14 new files were added to one or more datasets. These files included additional setup files as well as one or more of the following: SAS program, SAS transport, SPSS portable, and Stata system files. The metadata record was revised 2005-11-04 to reflect these additions.

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