The Informal World of Police Patrol: New York City in the Early Twentieth Century.

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  • Author(s): Thale, Christopher
  • Source:
    Journal of Urban History. Jan2007, Vol. 33 Issue 2, p183-216. 34p. 2 Charts.
  • Additional Information
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    • Abstract:
      Nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foot patrolmen did not have friendly contact with all citizens on their beats. Police-citizen relations were sometimes hostile or simply anonymous. Beats embraced large, socially divided populations, which did not always agree on police priorities. This article explores street-level police-citizen relations in New York City in the early twentieth century using disciplinary records, police-oriented newspapers, autobiographies, and other sources. Police-citizen contacts were selective. Merchants, shopkeepers, watchmen, and janitors shared common interests with police, which were strengthened by exchange of goods, services, the use of space, and sympathy and conversation. Police became especially attentive to their concerns about crime and disorder. Few other citizens could establish such links with beat patrolmen. Officers' relationships on their beats were influential but had significant built-in biases, reinforcing the enforcement of law and control of disorder in ways congruent with the needs and views of neighborhood notables. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
    • Abstract:
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