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.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine