Hurricane Andrew: Its Impact on Law and Social Control [Florida, 1992] (ICPSR 22629)

Version Date: Jun 19, 2009 View help for published

Principal Investigator(s): View help for Principal Investigator(s)
Ronald L. Akers, University of Florida; Lonn Lanza-Kaduce, University of Florida; Paul Cromwell, University of Miami; Roger G. Dunham, University of Miami

Version V1

This data collection examines the degree of concensus/dissensus concerning ideal and actual priorities of policing during the breakdown of formal social control directly following Hurricane Andrew in Miami, Florida. Both citizens of the damaged neighborhoods and the attending police were nonrandomly surveyed using semistructured interviews. A small sample of students were also interviewed.

Residents were asked about what happened to their neighborhood, their home, themselves, and their family before, during, and immediately after the hurricane, and in the time since the hurricane. Questions focused on precautions taken before the hurricane to guard against the storm's impact, the effects of the storm on families, the occurrence of crime and violence following the hurricane, and the actions taken by the police and military to maintain order after the storm.

Police were asked about disaster training, termination of department services during the storm, crime frequency in the aftermath of the storm, and the effectiveness of their police departments in dealing with crime immediately after the hurricane. Police were also asked about the origin of people (e.g., local vs. nonlocal) arrested for "hurricane related" crimes, such as looting.

Both citizens and police were asked to make two ratings of various police activities: (1) how much time they thought police actually spent on that activity, and (2) what priority should have been given to that activity. Respondents were then asked to reconstruct these considerations for the first day, first week (days 2-7), second and third weeks, and first month after the hurricane, as well as at the time of the survey (which was at least two months after the hurricane).

Students were asked questions concerning their family and the family's neighborhood, preparations for the hurricane, victimization experiences, formal/informal social controls prior to and after the hurricane, and the disruption/re-establishment of routines in family and neighborhood life after the event.

Akers, Ronald L., Lanza-Kaduce, Lonn, Cromwell, Paul, and Dunham, Roger G. Hurricane Andrew: Its Impact on Law and Social Control [Florida, 1992]. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-06-19.

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National Science Foundation (SES-9224588)
Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research
1992-10 -- 1992-12

Parts 1 (Citizen Data) and 2 (Police Data) contain both quantitative and qualitative data. Part 3 (Student Data) contains qualitative data only.

The research was designed as qualitative and exploratory. The researchers knew that normal sampling procedures would be very difficult if not impossible to use in the period following the hurricane. Over 60,000 homes were totally destroyed and many thousands of others were severely damaged. Residents of the hurricane damage zone were living in temporary shelters, in damaged homes, in trailers in front of destroyed houses, with friends, in "tent cities," and many other temporary and unusual living arrangements.

For the residents' interviews, researchers selected several target areas in the damage zone with an emphasis on geographical representativeness and with a view to including neighborhoods that were hardest hit and those that were damaged but less so. The interviews were obtained in neighborhoods in the four quadrants of the cities of Homestead and Florida City, and the Dade County neighborhood communities of Howard, Perrine, Redlands, Goulds, Franjo, Cutler Ridge, Kendall, and Country Walk.

Some interviews (n = 8) were obtained from respondents who resided just north of Kendall Drive, at the fringe of the worst devastation. Kendall Drive is a major artery that separates the South Miami/Coral Gables area from South Dade County. The majority of the interviews (n = 65) were obtained from the hardest-hit areas of Goulds, Franjo, Cutler Ridge, Perrine, and Howard, areas that are located between Kendall Drive and Homestead. The remaining interviews (n = 20) were obtained from areas just south of Kendall Drive and west, north, and south of the MetroZoo. There was also dispersion from east to west. Interviewee addresses ranged from residential neighborhoods near the Atlantic Ocean on the east, to west of the MetroZoo area, including such devastated neighborhoods as Country Walk.

Similar interviews were also conducted with students enrolled in the University of Florida whose families lived in the areas affected by the hurricane. These students were recruited by word of mouth and snowball referrals.

The police interviews came from a variety of departments in the affected area. The departments included North Miami and Miami Police Departments (where damage was low, but traffic and coordination problems had occurred), to police agencies in the hardest hit areas, including Metro Dade and Homestead. Although the researchers did not identify departments on the interview schedule (because they asked for some information that could have been sensitive for the responding officers, e.g., criticism of superiors), they did get an idea of where the departments were located through responses to a question on the percentage of officers in the department that had experienced serious damage from the storm. The responses ranged from about 25 percent to 90 percent. The majority of the interviews (n = 37) were conducted with departments where well in excess of 50 percent of the officers suffered severe damage (i.e., departments in the hardest hit areas).

The neighborhoods represented a cross-section of economic and ethnic composition. Interviewers went into each of these areas and approached residents on an available-and-agreeable basis. The instrument included questions regarding additional potential respondents for a snowball sample, but following up on this did not prove to be feasible, and the sample continued to grow by the approach-and-interview procedure.

For the surveys of law enforcement personnel, researchers asked the operational commander of all law enforcement efforts in the Homestead area to distribute self-completed instruments to as representative a sample as possible, comprised of officers and police agencies who had been assigned to the hurricane damage area at the time of the hurricane, or who had been assigned there during the early weeks after the storm. Therefore, the researchers used non-randomly selected samples that were still not large even after they expanded them, though they did obtain respondents from all relevant geographic areas in Miami/Dade.

The samples were purposeful, convenience samples.

survey data


2018-02-15 The citation of this study may have changed due to the new version control system that has been implemented. The previous citation was:
  • Akers, Ronald L., Lonn Lanza-Kaduce, Paul Cromwell, and Roger G. Dunham. Hurricane Andrew: Its Impact on Law and Social Control [Florida, 1992]. ICPSR22629-v1. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-06-19.

2009-06-19 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:

  • Performed consistency checks.
  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Created online analysis version with question text.
  • Performed recodes and/or calculated derived variables.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.


  • Data in this collection are available only to users at ICPSR member institutions.

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