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Educating the Public About Police Through Public Service Announcements in Lima, Ohio, 1995-1997 (ICPSR 2885)

Principal Investigator(s):

Summary:

This study was designed to analyze the impact of four televised public service announcements (PSAs) aired for three months in Lima, Ohio. The researchers sought to answer three specific research questions: (1) Were the PSAs effective in transferring knowledge to citizens about the police? (2) Did the PSAs have an impact on resident satisfaction with the police? and (3) Did the PSAs have an impact on the behavior of citizens interacting with the police? To assess public attitudes about the Lima police and to determine whether the substance of the PSAs was being communicated to the residents of Lima, three waves of telephone interviews were conducted (Part 1). The first telephone interviews were conducted in April 1996 with approximately 500 randomly selected Lima residents. These were baseline interviews that took place before the PSAs aired. The survey instrument used in the first interview assessed resident satisfaction with the police and the services they provided. After completion of the Wave 1 interviews, the PSAs were aired on television for three months (June 5-August 28, 1996). After August 28, the PSAs were removed from general circulation. A second wave of telephone interviews was conducted in September 1996 with a different group of randomly selected Lima residents. The same survey instrument used during the first interviews was administered during the second wave, with additional questions added relating to whether the respondent saw any of the PSAs. A third group of randomly selected Lima residents was contacted via the telephone in January 1997 for the final wave of interviews. The final interviews utilized the identical survey instrument used during Wave 2. The focus of this follow-up survey was on citizen retention, over time, of the information communicated in the PSAs. Official data collected from computerized records maintained by the Lima Police Department were also collected to monitor changes in citizen behavior (Part 2). The records data span 127 weeks, from January 1, 1995, to June 7, 1997, which includes 74 weeks of pre-PSA data and 53 weeks of data for the period during the initial airing of the first PSA and thereafter. Variables in Part 1 include whether respondents were interested in learning about what to do if stopped by the police, what actions they had displayed when stopped by the police, if they would defend another person being treated unfairly by the police, how responsible they felt (as a citizen) in preventing crimes, the likelihood of calling the police if they were aware of a crime, perception of crime and fear of crime, and whether there had been an increase or decrease in the level of crime in their neighborhoods. Respondents were also asked about the amount of television they watched, whether they saw any of the public service announcements and if so to rate them, whether the PSAs provided information not already known, whether any of the PSA topics had come up in conversations with family or friends, and whether the respondent would like to see more PSAs in the future. Finally, respondents were asked whether the police were doing as much as they could to make the neighborhood safe, how responsive the police were to nonemergency matters, and to rate their overall satisfaction with the Lima Police Department and its various services. Demographic variables for Part 1 include the race, gender, age, marital status, level of education, employment status, and income level of each respondent. Variables in Part 2 cover police use-of-force or resisting arrest incidents that took place during the study period, whether the PSA aired during the week in which a use-of-force or resisting arrest incident took place, the number of supplemental police use-of-force reports that were made, and the number of resisting arrest charges made.

Access Notes

  • These data are freely available.

Dataset(s)

DS0:  Study-Level Files
Documentation:
DS1:  Public Service Announcements Data - Download All Files (1.4 MB)
DS2:  Use of Force Data - Download All Files (0.2 MB)

Study Description

Citation

Chamlin, Mitchell B., and Christopher R. Stormann. EDUCATING THE PUBLIC ABOUT POLICE THROUGH PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENTS IN LIMA, OHIO, 1995-1997. ICPSR version. Cincinnati, OH: University of Cincinnati [producer], 1998. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2000. http://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR02885.v1

Persistent URL:

Export Citation:

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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-0055)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:   crime prevention, fear of crime, police citizen interactions, police performance, public interest, public opinion, public safety, public service advertising

Geographic Coverage:   Lima, Ohio, United States

Time Period:  

  • 1995--1997

Unit of Observation:   Part 1: Households. Part 2: Weeks.

Universe:   Part 1: All households in Lima, Ohio. Part 2: Counts of resisting arrest charges and police use-of-force incidents.

Data Types:   survey data, and administrative records data

Data Collection Notes:

The user guide, codebook, and data collection instruments are provided by ICPSR 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 on the ICPSR Web site.

Methodology

Study Purpose:   Community-oriented policing relies on a partnership between the police and the public. Ideally, this partnership should be an informed relationship wherein both parties -- the police and the public -- understand the needs and expectations of the other. However, the public is rarely equipped with a clear understanding of the police's role or of how to behave when involved in a police-citizen encounter. Consequently, misunderstandings occur that diminish the capacity of the public to form an effective partnership with the police. Academics and law enforcement personnel have emphasized training police officers to be empathic toward the diverse elements accompanying the populations they serve. What had been overlooked was the need to educate and make empathic the other half of the partnership -- the public. This study sought to analyze the impact of four televised public service announcements (PSAs) aired for three months in Lima, Ohio. The PSAs were created with the goal of educating the public about the police and informing citizens about how to behave during encounters with the police. Moreover, the study sought to answer three specific research questions: (1) Were the PSAs effective in transferring knowledge to citizens about the police? (2) Did the PSAs have an impact on resident satisfaction with the police? and (3) Did the PSAs have an impact on the behavior of citizens interacting with the police?

Study Design:   Researchers first conducted a focus group with the Lima Police Department to determine which issues would be the center of the public service announcements (PSAs). The Lima focus group generated approximately 12 areas of police concern that officers characterized as problematic. After careful review of the items identified from the focus group, researchers selected four areas to concentrate on for the PSAs: (1) helpful tips if you are pulled over, (2) helpful tips for police emergencies, (3) helpful tips for disturbances and disagreements with the police, and (4) the police role and community-oriented policing. To determine whether the substance of the PSAs was being communicated to the residents of Lima, OH, three waves of telephone interviews were conducted (Part 1). The first telephone interviews were conducted in April 1996 with approximately 500 randomly selected Lima residents. These interviews took place before the PSAs aired. The survey instrument used in the first interviews assessed resident satisfaction with the police and the services they provided. After completion of the Wave 1 interviews, the PSAs were aired on television for three months (June 5-August 28, 1996) with an average of three airings a day. After August 28, the PSAs were removed from general circulation. The second wave of telephone interviews was conducted in September 1996 with a different group of randomly selected Lima residents. The same survey instrument used during the first interviews was administered during the second wave, with additional questions added relating to whether the respondent saw any of the PSAs. The second wave of interviews served two purposes. First, residents were asked questions concerning knowledge about the four PSA topics and comparisons were made of these levels of knowledge before and after the airings, using data from Wave 1 as baseline data. Second, the interviews were used to determine whether there was a relationship between any of the PSAs and resident satisfaction with the police. A third group of randomly selected Lima residents was contacted via the telephone in January 1997 for the final wave of interviews. The final interviews utilized the identical survey instrument used during Wave 2. The focus of this follow-up survey was on citizen retention, over time, of the information communicated in the PSAs. Official data from Lima police records were also collected to monitor changes in citizen behavior (Part 2). The data span 127 weeks, from January 1, 1995, to June 7, 1997, which includes 74 weeks of data for the period prior to the onset of the intervention and 53 weeks of data for the period during the initial airing of the first PSA and thereafter. In addition, weekly counts of resisting arrest incidents, supplemental reports of police use-of-force, and charges of resisting an arrest were collected from computerized records maintained by the Lima Police Department during the study period.

Sample:   Simple random sampling.

Data Source:

telephone interviews and official police records

Description of Variables:   Variables in Part 1 include whether respondents were interested in learning about what to do if stopped by the police, what actions they had displayed when stopped by the police, if they would defend another person being treated unfairly by the police, how responsible they felt (as a citizen) in preventing crimes, the likelihood of calling the police if they were aware of a crime, perception of crime and fear of crime, and whether there had been an increase or decrease in the level of crime in their neighborhoods. Respondents were also asked about the amount of television they watched, whether they saw any of the public service announcements and if so to rate them, whether the PSAs provided information not already known to them, whether any of the PSA topics had come up in conversations with family or friends, and whether they would like to see more PSAs in the future. Finally, respondents were asked whether the police were doing as much as they could to make the neighborhood safe, how responsive the police were to nonemergency matters, and to rate their overall satisfaction with the Lima Police Department and its various services. Demographic variables for Part 1 include the race, gender, age, marital status, level of education, employment status, and income level of each respondent. Variables in Part 2 cover the year that use-of-force or resisting arrest incidents took place, whether the PSA aired during the week in which a use-of-force or resisting arrest incident took place, the number of supplemental police use-of-force reports that were made, and the number of resisting arrest charges made.

Response Rates:   For Part 1, the three waves of interviews (approximately 500 per wave) yielded a response rate of 64 percent. Part 2: Not applicable.

Presence of Common Scales:   Several Likert scales were used.

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:

  • 2006-03-30 File CB2885.ALL.PDF was removed from any previous datasets and flagged as a study-level file, so that it will accompany all downloads.
  • 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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