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Publication Contacts between Police and the Public, 2005

Matthew R. Durose, Erica L. Smith, Patrick A. Langan, Ph.D., Bureau of Justice Statistics

April 29, 2007    NCJ 215243

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 more than 60,000 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 incidents. The report also provides comparative analysis with prior survey findings.


  • An estimated 19% of U.S. residents age 16 or older had a face-to-face contact with a police officer in 2005, a decrease from 21% of residents who had contact with police in 2002.
  • Overall, about 9 out of 10 persons who had contact with police in 2005 felt police acted properly.
  • Of the 43.5 million persons who had contact with police in 2005, an estimated 1.6% had force used or threatened against them during their most recent contact, a rate relatively unchanged from 2002 (1.5%).

Part of the Contacts between Police and the Public Series

Press Release
Full report (PDF 305K)
ASCII file (32K)
Spreadsheet (Zip format 21K)
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Police-Public Contact Survey (PPCS)

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