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Police-Public Contact Survey, 1999: [United States]

Resource Type
Dataset : survey data
  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics
Other Title
  • Version 1 (Subtitle)
Collective Title
  • National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) Series
Publication Date
Funding Reference
  • United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics
Free Keywords
police citizen interactions; police community relations; police officers; police use of force; public interest; public opinion
  • Abstract

    This survey was undertaken to learn more about how often and under what circumstances police-public contact becomes problematic. The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) initiated surveys of the public on their interactions with police in 1996 with the first Police-Public Contact Survey, a pretest among a nationally representative sample of 6,421 persons aged 12 or older. That initial version of the questionnaire revealed that about 20 percent of the public had direct, face-to-face contact with a police officer at least once during the year preceding the survey. At that time, the principal investigator estimated that about 1 in 500 residents, or about a half million people, who had an encounter with a police officer also experienced either a threat of force or the actual use of force by the officer. The current survey, an improved version of the 1996 Police-Public Contact Survey, was fielded as a supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey (ICPSR 6406) during the last six months of 1999. A national sample nearly 15 times as large as the pretest sample in 1996 was used. The 1999 survey yielded nearly identical estimates of the prevalence and nature of contacts between the public and the police. This survey, because of its much larger sample size, permits more extensive analysis of demographic differences in police contacts than the 1996 pretest. In addition, it added a new and more detailed set of questions about traffic stops by police, the most frequent reason given for contact with police. Variables in the dataset cover type of contact with police, including whether it was face-to-face, initiated by the police or the citizen, whether an injury to the officer or the citizen resulted from the contact, crimes reported, and police use of force. Demographic variables supplied for the citizens include gender, race, and Hispanic origin.
  • Methods

    ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection: Standardized missing values.; Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes..
  • Table of Contents


    • DS1: Dataset
Temporal Coverage
  • Time period: 1999
  • 1999-07-01 / 1999-12-31
    Collection date: 1999-07-01--1999-12-31
Geographic Coverage
  • United States
Sampled Universe
Respondents aged 16 and older to the National Crime Victimization Survey during the last six months of 1999. The universe of the NCVS is all persons in the United States aged 12 and older.
Stratified multistage cluster sample.
2001-06-18 Several corrections have been made to the body of the codebook and the data file has been resupplied. Funding insitution(s): United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics.
This version of the study is no longer available on the web. If you need to acquire this version of the data, you have to contact ICPSR User Support (
Alternative Identifiers
  • 3151 (Type: ICPSR Study Number)
  • Is previous version of
    DOI: 10.3886/ICPSR03151.v2
  • Huggins, Christopher M.. Traffic stop encounters: Officer and citizen race and perceptions of police propriety. American Journal of Criminal Justice.37, 92-110.2012.
    • ID: 10.1007/s12103-010-9097-8 (DOI)
  • Eith, Christine, DuRose, Matthew R.. Contacts between Police and the Public, 2008. Special Report.NCJ 234599, Washington, DC: United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2011.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Gibson, Chris L., Walker, Samuel, Jennings, Wesley G., Miller, J. Mitchell. The impact of traffic stops on calling the police for help. Criminal Justice Policy Review.21, (2), 139-159.2010.
    • ID: 10.1177/0887403409344165 (DOI)
  • Forst, Brian. Improving Police Effectiveness and Transparency: National Information Needs on Law Enforcement. Bureau of Justice Statistics Data User's Workshop.Washington, DC. 2008.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Gilliard-Matthews, Stacia, Kowalski, Brian R., Lundman, Richard J.. Officer race and citizen-reported traffic ticket decisions by police in 1999 and 2002. Police Quarterly.11, (2), 202-219.2008.
    • ID: 10.1177/1098611107309657 (DOI)
  • Lichtenberg, Illya. Contacts between the police and the public: Three tests of convergent validity. Police Practice and Research.8, (1), 47-62.2007.
    • ID: 10.1080/15614260701218006 (DOI)
  • Engel, Robin Shephard. Citizens' perceptions of distributive and procedural injustice during traffic stops with police. Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency.42, (4), 445-481.2005.
    • ID: 10.1177/0022427804272725 (DOI)
  • Engel, Robin Shepard, Calnon, Jennifer N.. Examining the influence of drivers' characteristics during traffic stops with police: Results from a national survey. Justice Quarterly.21, (1), 49-90.2004.
    • ID: 10.1080/07418820400095741 (DOI)
  • Lundman, Richard J., Kaufman, Robert L.. Driving while Black: Effects of race, ethnicity, and gender on citizen self-reports of traffic stops and police actions. Criminology.41, (1), 195-220.2003.
    • ID: 10.1111/j.1745-9125.2003.tb00986.x (DOI)
  • Bricker, Todd Eugene. The Enforcement of Traffic Offenses by the Police: Exploring the Issue of Racial Profiling. Ph.D. dissertation, Michigan State University. 2002.
  • Phillips, Scott, Rodiguez, Nestor, Hagan, Jacqueline. Brutality at the border? Use of force in the arrest of immigrants to the United States. International Journal of the Sociology of Law.30, (4), 285-306.2002.
    • ID: 10.1016/S0194-6595(03)00003-0 (DOI)
  • Schmitt, Erica Leah, Langan, Patrick A., Durose, Matthew R.. Characteristics of Drivers Stopped by Police, 1999. 191548, Washington, DC: United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2002.
    • ID: (URL)
  • Langan, Patrick A., Greenfeld, Lawrence A., Smith, Steven K., Durose, Matthew R., Levin, David J.. Contacts Between Police and Public: Findings from the 1999 National Survey. NCJ 184957, United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2001.
    • ID: (URL)

Update Metadata: 2015-08-05 | Issue Number: 3 | Registration Date: 2015-06-30

United States Department of Justice. Office of Justice Programs. Bureau of Justice Statistics (2001): Police-Public Contact Survey, 1999: [United States]. Version 1. National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS) Series. Version: v1. ICPSR - Interuniversity Consortium for Political and Social Research. Dataset.