Did you call the police? What did they do? an empirical assessment of black’s theory of mobilization of law

Edem F. Avakame, James J. Fyfe, Candace McCoy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations

Abstract

Using data from the National Crime Victimization Survey (1992-1994), this study tests Donald Black’s theory about the behavior of law, specifically the decision to mobilize social control through legal agencies. Results suggest that numerous extralegal factors (e.g., race, gender, wealth, education) affect both crime victims’ decisions to call for police intervention and police decisions to arrest. The analysis also suggests that factors predicting calls to police may be different from those presaging arrest. We conclude that the degree of social control (or, in Black’s terms, the “quantity of law”) mobilized is not explained significantly by many of the factors that the theory predicts: The poor relied on the police more than did middle-class people.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)765-792
Number of pages28
JournalJustice Quarterly
Volume16
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1999
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Law

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