Study: Most Black Americans Want Police to Maintain Same Level of Presence in Their Communities

Nearly nine in 10 Black Americans who had interacted with police in the past year and felt they were treated with courtesy and respect wanted police presence to remain the same or increase.

Study: Most Black Americans Want Police to Maintain Same Level of Presence in Their Communities

Washington, D.C. – More than six in 10 African Americans believe the amount of time police are in their communities is about right. When asked if they wanted law enforcement to spend more time, the same amount of time or less time than they currently do in their area, 61% said they want police officers to continue spending the same amount of time in their communities.

Overall, 67% of American adults want law enforcement to maintain the status quo, according to a Gallup Poll conducted June 23-July 6. More than seven in 10 White Americans (71%), 63% of Asian Americans and 59% of Hispanic Americans want police presence to remain the same.

Nearly one in five American adults (19%) want law enforcement officers to spend more time in their communities. Broken down by ethnicity, 24% of Hispanic Americans, 20% of Black Americans, 17% of White Americans and 9% of Asian Americans want greater police presence.

More than a quarter of Asian Americans (28%) want police to spend less time in their areas, compared to Black Americans (19%), Hispanic Americans (17%) and White Americans (12%).

Additionally, the poll found that exposure to law enforcement was fairly consistent among all races, with 41% of Black Americans, 42% of White Americans, 37% of Hispanic Americans and 47% of Asian Americans saying they sometimes see their local police.

African Americans said they see their local police most often. About a third (32%) of Black Americans said they see local law enforcement officers often or very often, compared to 28% of Hispanic Americans, 22% of White Americans and 21% of Asian Americans.

Just over a third of all Americans (35%) said they rarely or never see local police. When broken down by race, Whites, Hispanics and Asians experience nearly the same lack of exposure… 36%, 34% and 32% respectively. Twenty-seven percent of African Americans said they rarely or never see local law enforcement.

When asked about their interactions with police, however, race is a significant factor. Only 18% of Black Americans and 24% of Asian Americans feel very confident that they would be treated with courtesy and respect. Nearly one in four Blacks (39%) said they felt “not too confident” or “not at all confident” that they would be treated with courtesy and respect. Twenty-two percent of Asians and Hispanics said they felt “not too confident” or “not at all confident” compared to only 9% of Whites.

The amount of time Black Americans want police in their communities relates somewhat to their expectations of fair treatment, reports Gallup. Fifty-nine percent of the 12% of Black Americans who said they were not at all confident they would receive fair treatment said they wanted police to spend less time in their areas. Most of the other Black Americans surveyed, including those who said they were “not too confident,” want police to spend the same or more time in their communities.

The quality of interactions between African Americans and law enforcement appears to be a significant factor in whether or not the poll participants wanted the same or greater police presence. Nearly nine in 10 Black Americans (87%) who had interacted with police in the past year and felt they were treated with respect by officers wanted police presence to remain the same or increase.

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