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Final Report of Cognitive Research on the 2005 Police Public Contact Survey: A Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey

Kristen Hughes

KEY WORDS: police contact, crime victimization, cognitive interviews


The Police Public Contact Survey is sponsored by the Bureau of Justice Statistics and administered to persons 18 years of age and older, who reside in households sampled for the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). The purpose of the research was to evaluate new and revised questions about respondents' attitudes on the friendliness, respectfulness, and professionalism of police officers during traffic stops and revised questions about the number of officers present during the stop and the race of the police officers making the traffic stops. Results show that the question about how many officers were present assumed a constant number, while sone respondents reported one officer at the beginning and additional officers arriving later. Also, the initial version of the question about the race of the police officers - when respondents reported more than one officer present - obtained information about the race of all officers, rather than the one who made the initial contact. This information is necessary to measure the occurrence of racial profiling. Finally, while assessments of the police officers' respectfulness and professionalism were easily answered by respondents, their friendliness was seen as inappropriate to be measuring. This report contains the recommendations to address these problems and others that we identified through our interviews.


Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Statistical Research Division

Created: September 20, 2005
Last revised: September 20, 2005

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Source: U.S. Census Bureau | Statistical Research Division | (301) 763-3215 (or |   Last Revised: October 08, 2010