Characteristics of Police Departments in the State of North Carolina Which Predict the Attrition of Sexual Assault Cases

ECU Author/Contributor (non-ECU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Lenna Raye Jones (Creator)
East Carolina University (ECU )
Web Site:
Linda A. Mooney

Abstract: The high rate of attrition in sexual assault cases may be a result of members of the criminal justice systems preconceived notions about the crime of rape and rape victims a phenomenon known as rape myth acceptance (RMA). Because one of the largest rates of attrition for sex crimes occurs in the police investigative stage researchers have suggested that police officers in general have extremely high levels of RMA. Nevertheless studies have shown that a college education is an important moderator of RMA. I propose that across police departments those with a higher percentage of officers with at least a four year degree will have a smaller justice gap for sex crimes. Using Sutherland's theory of differential association I hypothesize that when the characteristics of officers in a department which are unfavorable to RMA increase that the social learning process amongst the officers can diffuse anti-RMA attitudes throughout the department and increase the likelihood of case clearance department wide. Using pre-existing data and a survey instrument sent to a purposive sample of 258 law enforcement agencies in North Carolina which reported to the UCR in both 2009 and 2010 I perform quantitative analyses to determine which aggregate characteristics of officers predict a smaller justice gap. The results of my analyses support my hypothesis that across police agencies the increased percentages of four year degrees is one of the most important predictors of a smaller justice gap for reported sex crimes. 

Additional Information

Date: 2012
Sexual Assault, Sociology, Criminology, Women's studies, Case Attrition, Differential Assocition, Police Culture, Policing, Rape Myth Acceptance, Rape
Rape--Investigation--North Carolina
Police--Education (Higher)--North Carolina
Police training--North Carolina
Rape--North Carolina--Psychological aspects

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