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Publication Contacts between Police and Public: Findings from the 2002 National Survey

Matthew R. Durose, Patrick A. Langan, Ph.D., Erica L. Schmitt

April 1, 2005    NCJ 207845

Presents data on the nature and characteristics of contacts between residents of the U.S. and the police over a 12-month period. Findings are provided from a nationally representative survey of nearly 80,000 residents age 16 or older. Detailed information is presented on face-to-face contacts with the police, including the reason for and outcome of the contact, resident opinion on police behavior during the contact, and whether police used or threatened to use force during the contact. The report provides demographic characteristics of residents involved in traffic stops and use-of-force encounters and discusses the relevance of the survey findings to the issue of racial profiling.


  • About 25% of the 45.3 million persons with a face-to-face contact indicated the reason for the contact was to report a crime or other problem.
  • In 2002 about 1.3 million residents age 16 or older — 2.9% of the 45.3 million persons with contact — were arrested by police.
  • The likelihood of being stopped by police in 2002 did not differ significantly between white (8.7%), black (9.1%), and Hispanic (8.6%) drivers.
  • During the traffic stop, police were more likely to carry out some type of search on a black (10.2%) or Hispanic (11.4%) than a white (3.5%).

Part of the Contacts between Police and the Public Series

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Police-Public Contact Survey (PPCS)

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