States Where You Have To Fear The Police

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States Where You Have To Fear The Police Empty States Where You Have To Fear The Police

Post by Wally The Whale on Fri Aug 15, 2014 2:46 pm

Are more police per citizen worse? Not necessarily.

The standard measure for the number of police in a region is expressed as “officers per thousand”, or a police to population ratio. Surprisingly, a table comparing the States wasn’t easy to find, so here is the data from the FBI’s crime in the United State report, calculated, and ranked (lowest to highest). Lowest being Oregon with the least officers.

The States with the asterisk next to it are the states with the most benign officers where you are less likely to be harassed. The ones with an x are the worst where you are most likely to be harassed or even victimized.The states with 2 xx's are of special concern. States not marked are somewhere in between.

RankStateTotal Officers2009
officers per thousand
1*OREGON 603537900721.6
3*MAINE 225113173411.7
4MINNESOTA 888251808831.7
6IDAHO 269015433241.7
7*IOWA 528129889221.8
8ALASKA 12626962731.8
9*MONTANA 17809722401.8
10SOUTH DAKOTA 14848098381.8
11INDIANA 1123359959561.9
12xMICHIGAN 1880098455061.9
13WEST VIRGINIA347618108241.9
14KENTUCKY 824842396501.9
15NORTH DAKOTA 12606468441.9
16xARIZONA 1297164822812.0
17NEBRASKA 351817502802.0
18MISSISSIPPI 541726750802.0
19ARKANSAS 620028886392.1
22*NEW HAMPSHIRE 254111661042.2
23xMASSACHUSETTS 1395563962512.2
25NEVADA 598426430852.3
26NEW MEXICO 447519586652.3
27*HAWAII 299012951782.3
30COLORADO 1178550181612.3
31NORTH CAROLINA 2230692602662.4
32RHODE ISLAND255410532092.4
33CONNECTICUT 862235182882.5
34ALABAMA 1124545876332.5
35xMISSOURI 1463858743962.5
36xxFLORIDA 44118176483822.5
37xxCALIFORNIA 80321318323812.5
39SOUTH CAROLINA 956137793012.5
40*DELAWARE 22968847652.6
43KANSAS 676124981262.7
44GEORGIA 2502891542012.7
45xMARYLAND 1566455196622.8
46xILLINOIS 36237126758152.9
47xNEW YORK 62160191209583.3
48*VERMONT 1072303744*3.5
49xxNEW JERSEY 3209084152893.8
50xxLOUISIANA 1114027716924.0
51DISTRICT OF COLUMBIAxx44735996577.5
The list above goes hand in hand with this one:

Top ticket-happy states
Here are the top states where you’re most likely to see flashing lights in your rear view mirror:

Here is the full list of states:
(ranked from most likely to ticket drivers to least likely)

1) Florida
2 tie) Georgia
2 tie) Nevada
4) Texas
5) Alabama
6) Missouri
7) New York
Cool North Carolina
9) District of Columbia
10) New Jersey
11) Louisiana
12) Arizona
13) Mississippi
14) California
15) Maryland
16) Iowa
17) Washington
18) Oklahoma
19) South Carolina
20) Indiana
21) Tennessee
22) Illinois
23) Ohio
24) Kansas
25) Michigan
26) Colorado
27) Delaware
28 tie) Minnesota
28 tie) Virginia
30) Massachusetts
31) Pennsylvania
32) Connecticut
33) Arkansas
34) Wisconsin
35) Vermont
36) Kentucky
37) New Hampshire
38) Hawaii
39) Rhode Island
40) Utah
41) Oregon
42) New Mexico
43) Nebraska
44) Idaho
45) West Virginia
46) Maine
47) Alaska
48) South Dakota
49) North Dakota
50) Wyoming
51) Montana

A citation in lieu of arrest is permitted in most states for certain low-level crimes. A citation is a written order, in lieu of a warrantless arrest, that is issued by a law enforcement officer or other authorized official, requiring a person to appear in a designated court or governmental office at a specified time and date. Citations are commonly associated with traffic violations, local ordinances or infractions. Policies that apply citations to specified crimes affect what happens with regard to custody of a defendant either immediately before or after arrest. (An arrest is the point at which an arrestee is taken into custody, referred to as custodial arrest or continued custody.) Nineteen states allow citations to be issued after arrest, nine authorize prior to arrest, and 10 states allow both.
State laws most often apply citation in lieu of arrest to misdemeanor crimes. Two states—Louisiana and Oregon—permit citations for some felonies. Seven states do not specify crimes for which an officer has discretion to issue a citation. Laws in 10 states create a presumption that citations be issued for certain crimes and  under certain circumstances. For example, Maryland requires police officers to issue a citation for any misdemeanor that does not carry a penalty of imprisonment, most misdemeanors punishable by a maximum of 90 days imprisonment and for misdemeanor possession of marijuana.
State statutes guide the circumstances under which a citation can be issued, often determined by the class of the alleged crime and providing exceptions for certain crimes. The issuing authority is almost always required to consider one or more factors in determining whether or not to issue a citation. Even under circumstances in which there is presumption of citation, enumerated factors must first be considered. Generally, a custodial arrest must be made if one or more of these factors are present:

  • There are reasonable grounds to believe the person will not appear for court, or the person has a history of not appearing. Officers consider the arrestee’s residency, family, employment and other ties to the community, as well as matters of character.
  • There are reasonable grounds to believe a person poses a danger to others, himself or herself, to property, the community, or that the person will not cease committing the alleged crime.
  • The criminal record of the arrestee or outstanding warrants.
  • Detention upon arrest is deemed necessary to carry out legitimate investigation, or if prosecution of the current or other alleged offenses would be jeopardized if not taken into custody.
  • If the arrestee requires physical or mental health care, if the person is not able to care for herself or herself or if the person is intoxicated or under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

There are two common circumstances under which state laws generally prohibit a citation being issued:

  • The arrestee refuses to sign a written promise to appear or requests to be taken before a judge.
  • The person does not have or will not provide valid identification, identification is unable to be verified, or the person is unwilling to provide fingerprints.

The use of citations can contribute to lower jail populations and local cost savings by diverting from detention arrestees who pose little risk to public safety and are likely to appear for their court date. Citations issued before arrest also can have the effect of an arrest not being placed on a person’s criminal record.  Some legislatures have stated the intent of citations in statutory law. In Tennessee, the statute says:
“In cases in which:

  1. the public will not be endangered by the continued freedom of the suspected misdemeanant;
  2. the law enforcement officer has reasonable proof of the identity of the suspected misdemeanant; and
  3. there is no reason to believe the suspected misdemeanant will not appear as required by law,

the general assembly finds that the issuance of a citation in lieu of arrest of the suspected misdemeanant will result in cost savings and increased public safety by allowing the use of jail space    for dangerous individuals and/or felons and by keeping officers on patrol. Accordingly, the general assembly encourages all law enforcement agencies to so utilize misdemeanor citations and to encourage their personnel to use those citations when reasonable and according to law.” [§40-7-118(m)].
By providing an alternative to pretrial detention and release processes for certain defendants, citation in lieu of arrest can be considered a component of state pretrial policies.
The chart below provides more information on citation in lieu of arrest state laws.

50 State Chart | Citation in Lieu of Arrest
[th] State & Statute[/th][th] For What Offenses Can a Citation be Issued?[/th][th] Exceptions [/th][th] Presumption of Citation[/th][th] When is Citation Issued?[/th][th] Who Issues Citation?[/th]
Class C MisdemeanorsOffenses involving violence, threat of violence, alcohol or drugs.NoAfter arrestLaw enforcement officers
MisdemeanorsOffenses involving violence to property or person; when there is probable cause that domestic abuse was involved.NoPrior to arrestPeace officers
MisdemeanorsNot specifiedNoAfter arrestPeace officers
No statute located
Penal Code §853.6
MisdemeanorsOffenses involving domestic violence or abuse (unless the officer determines there is not a reasonable likelihood that the offense will continue). Offenses that require a bail hearing rather than release according to a bail schedule.YesEitherLaw enforcement officers or their superiors.
MisdemeanorsDomestic violence offensesNoAfter arrestLaw enforcement officers; responsible command officers.
Misdemeanors; offenses punishable by a maximum of one year imprisonment or a maximum fine of $1000.Not specifiedNoAfter arrestArresting officer
11 Del. C. §1907
MisdemeanorsNot specifiedNoNot specifiedPeace officers
District of Columbia
No statue located
§901.28 superseded by R. Cr. P. 3.125
1st or 2nd degree misdemeanors.Not specifiedNoAfter arrestLaw enforcement officers
No statute located
§ 803-6
Misdemeanors and petty misdemeanors.Not specifiedNoPrior to arrestPolice officers
MisdemeanorsNot specifiedNoNot specifiedLaw enforcement officers
725, ILCS 5/107-12
When there are reasonable grounds to believe that a person is committing or has committed a crime.Not specifiedNoNot specifiedPeace officers
Class C misdemeanorsNot specifiedNoAfter arrestSheriff
MisdemeanorsTraffic misdemeanorsNoNot specifiedLaw enforcement officers
§ 805.1
When a crime has been committed in the presence of the police officer or there is reasonable grounds to believe that a crime has been committed.Offenses not eligible for pretrial release; stalking; domestic violence offenses resulting in injury, where there was intent to inflict injury, involving use of dangerous weapon, or where there was pressure applied to throat or neck or obstructing nose or mouth.NoEitherPeace officers
§ 22-2408
MisdemeanorsTraffic violationsNoAfter arrestLaw enforcement officers
§ 431.015
MisdemeanorsViolation of a protective orderYesPrior to arrestPeace officers
Misdemeanor offenses of driving under the influence; assault; sexual crimes; crimes involving firearms or weapons; 4th degree assault in a hospital room; 3rd degree criminal trespass; harassment; and aggravated driving under the influence.Violation of protective orderNoPrior to arrestPeace officers
C. Cr. P. Art 211
Misdemeanors; felony theft or illegal possession of stolen things if the value is between $500 and $1000; writing worthless checks.Not specifiedNoPrior to arrestPeace officers
17-A § 15-A
When there is probable cause to believe a crime has been or is being committed.Not specifiedNoPrior to arrestLaw enforcement officers
Cr. Pr. Law § 4-101
Misdemeanors that do not carry a penalty of imprisonment, any misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of 90 days or less, and possession of marijuana.Failure to comply with a peace order; violation of a condition of pretrial release while charged with a sex crime against a minor; possession of an electronic control device after conviction of a drug felony or violent crime; violation of any out of state domestic violence ordinance; violation of an interim, temporary or final protective order; abuse or neglect of an animal.YesEitherPeace officers
No statute located
Misdemeanors with a maximum of 93 days. Not specifiedNoPrior to arrestPolice officers
Any offense less than felony.Domestic assault; violation of a protection order; crimes subject to mandatory confinement or mandatory condition of pretrial release.NoPrior to arrestAuthorized public servants
§626.862; §629.72
Not specifiedStalking; domestic abuse; violation of a protection order;  violation of a domestic abuse no contact order.NoEitherPeace officers
Stalking; domestic abuse; violation of a protection order; violation of a domestic abuse no contact order.Not specifiedYesAfter arrestOfficer in charge of police station; county sheriff.
§ 99-3-18
MisdemeanorsNot specifiedNoAfter arrestPolice officers; booking officers; superiors.
No statute located
§ 46-6-310; §46-6-311
When the officer has probable cause to believe a person has committed a crime.Partner or family member assault involving injury to the victim, use of a weapon, violation of restraining order.NoNot specifiedPeace officers
§ 29-422
MisdemeanorsViolations of protection order for domestic violenceNoEitherPeace officers
§ 171.1771; §171.177
MisdemeanorsMisdemeanors that require a bail hearingNoAfter arrestPeace officers
New Hampshire
MisdemeanorsNot specifiedNoAfter arrestPeace officers
New Jersey
§ 2B:12-21 authorizes R. Crim. P. Rule 3:4-1
Crimes committed in an officer’s presence.Not specifiedYesAfter arrestLaw enforcement officers
New Mexico
§ 31-1-6
Petty misdemeanorsNot specifiedNoAfter arrestLaw enforcement officers
New York
Cr. P. Law §150.20; §140.10
Cr. P. Law §150.75
Any offenseClass A, B, C, D felonies; 3rd degree rape; 3rd degree criminal sex act; 2nd degree escape; 1st degree absconding from a temporary release; absconding from a community treatment facility, 2nd degree bail jumping; violation of a protection order.NoAfter arrestPolice officers; authorized public servants.
Possession of marijuana.Not specifiedYesAfter arrestPolice officers
North Carolina
§ 15A-302
MisdemeanorsNot specifiedNoNot specifiedLaw enforcement officers; other authorized persons.
North Dakota
§29-05-31 superseded by R. Cr. P. 5(e)
Crimes committed in an officer’s presence.Not specifiedNoEitherLaw enforcement officers; prosecuting attorney must duly issue for felony offenses.
§ 2935.26
Minor misdemeanorsNot specifiedYesPrior to arrestLaw enforcement officers
22 § 209
MisdemeanorsNot specifiedNoAfter arrestLaw enforcement officers
§ 133.055
Misdemeanors; felonies authorized by law to be reduced to a misdemeanor.Domestic disturbance when the officer has probable cause to believe that an assault has occurred between family or household members or believes that an assault has occurred which has placed a person in fear of imminent danger.NoNot specifiedPeace officers
R. Cr. P. 519 & 441
2nd degree misdemeanors; 1st degree driving under the influence; crimes punishable by a maximum of 90 days.Not specifiedYesAfter arrestLaw enforcement officers
Rhode Island
§ 12-7-11; §12-7-12
MisdemeanorsNot specifiedNoEitherPeace officers; officer in charge of a police station.
South Carolina
§56-7-10; §56-7-15; §22-3-540
Offenses enumerated in §56-7-10; offenses under the jurisdiction of a magistrate (maximum penalty of 30 days jail and $500 fine) that are committed in the presence of a law enforcement officer.Not specifiedNoNot specifiedLaw enforcement officers
South Dakota
No statute located
§ 40-7-118;  §40-7-120
MisdemeanorsDriving under the influence unless the offender was admitted to a hospital or detained for medical treatment for at least three hours; misdemeanor traffic offenses.YesAfter arrestPeace officers
Shoplifting; writing bad checks; assault or battery if the officer believes there is a reasonable likelihood of a danger to another person; prostitution if the officer has knowledge of past conduct of the defendant in prostitution or has reasonable cause to believe the prostitution will continue.Not specifiedNoAfter arrestPeace officers
MisdemeanorsNot specifiedNoAfter arrestSheriff or designee.
C. Cr. P. Art. 14.06.
Class C misdemeanor; Class A or B misdemeanor of driving while license invalid, contraband in correctional facility, theft of service, theft, graffiti, criminal mischief, possession of substance penalty group 2-A, or possession of marijuana.Public intoxicationNoAfter arrestPeace officers
§ 77-7-18
MisdemeanorsNot specifiedNoEitherPeace officers; public officials charged with enforcement of law; port of entry agents; authorized volunteers.
R. Cr. P. 3
Misdemeanors committed outside the presence of a officer.Assault against a family member; operating a vehicle under the influence; hate-motivated crimes, stalking; simple assault; reckless endangerment; cruelty to children; failure to comply with sex offender registration; abuse of a vulnerable adult; violation of a protection order.NoPrior to arrestLaw enforcement officers
§ 19.2-74
Class 1 – 4 misdemeanors.Driving while intoxicated; motor vehicle offenses; public drunkenness.YesAfter arrestArresting officer
CrRLJ 2.1
Misdemeanors or gross misdemeanors committed in the presence of an officer.Offenses enumerated in §10.31.100NoEitherPolice officers
West Virginia
§ 62-1-5a
Misdemeanors; persons being detained for investigation of shoplifting.Offenses involving injury to a personNoPrior to arrestLaw enforcement officers
§ 968.085;§ 968.075; § 813.12; § 813.122; § 813.125
MisdemeanorsDomestic abuse offenses if believed abuse will continue, involves physical injury or the arrestee is the predominant agressor; violation of protection order involving domestic abuse, child abuse or harassment.NoEitherLaw enforcement officers
§ 7-2-103
MisdemeanorsNot specifiedNoAfter arrestPeace officers; district or city attorney.
Source: National Conference of State Legislatures, 2013
Court rule and case law provide further guidance regarding issuing citations in lieu of arrest. Court rule is not included in this chart unless a statute authorizes or is superseded by the rules and case law is not included.


Strictness index: Which states are the toughest? The most lenient? Hint - you want to live in a lenient state in case you screw up!

That 'strictness index' is a way of gauging how tough or lenient states are towards their criminals by looking at the net effects of how they apply criminal justice--namely how many people they put in prison--rather than by what statutes might say about how a particular crime is to be dealt with.

It is figured by taking incarceration per 100,000 residents (then multiplying it by a factor of 100 for ease of presentation) and dividing it by the 'crime index' (described below). If a state has 500 people locked up and its crime index is 8,000, then its strictness index is 6.25 ((500*100)/8000). If another state locks up the same proportion of people, 500, but its crime index is only 6,000, it has a higher strictness index, at 8.33. The second state is thus tougher on its criminals than the more lenient first state is.

The crime index is figured by adding violent crime and property crime (both per capita) together, weighing violent crimes nearly 18 times as heavily as property crimes. Violent crime includes murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault. Property crime includes burglary, larceny, and motor vehicle theft.

The reasoning behind the weighting involves a couple of things. In 2001, the FBI reported that just under half (49%) of all inmates in state prisons were there for having committed violent crimes, while one-fifth (20%) were being held for property crimes. Thus there are about 2.45 times as many thugs behind bars for violent crimes as there are for property crimes. Nationally, there are more than seven (7.31) property crimes committed for each violent crime committed. Property crimes are more frequent, but unsurprisingly, most severe punishment is meted out to perpetrators of violent crime.

From this, I estimate that violent crimes are about 18 (2.45*7.31) times as serious in the eyes of the public as property crimes are, and thus weight the two factors comprising the crime index accordingly. This doesn't mean that the crime index is 18-parts violent and only one-part property, because there are so many more property crimes than violent crimes that take place. It is, on average, 68% violent and 32% property.

A shortcoming is the absence of data on drug-related offences. Nearly one-quarter of inmates are in prison for such crimes. Unfortunately, I can't find numbers broken down at the state level for them.

The incarceration rates are from Pew's massive report entitled [url= in 100.pdf]One in 100: Behind Bars in America 2008[/url]. Despite the year mentioned in the title, the data used for the strictness index are from '05. Data on violent and property crime, which come directly from the FBI, are also from '05. Keep in mind, we're looking at the percentage of people behind bars relative to the percentage of people committing crimes. So a state can have lots of people in prison and still not be very strict, if it has lots and lots of crime.

The strictness index, by state:

1. South Dakota12.63
2. Mississippi11.58
3. Idaho10.74
4. Virginia9.85
5. Kentucky9.85
6. North Dakota9.61
7. Wyoming9.48
8. Wisconsin9.35
9. Georgia8.36
10. Louisiana7.94
11. New Hampshire7.67
12. Alabama7.66
13. Connecticut7.28
14. Vermont7.16
15. Texas7.06
16. Oklahoma6.99
17. Indiana6.88
18. Colorado6.53
19. Montana6.43
20. Maine6.17
21. New Jersey6.13
22. Pennsylvania6.06
23. West Virginia5.90
24. Utah5.87
25. Arizona5.76
26. Delaware5.68
27. Ohio5.61
28. Oregon5.57
29. Kansas5.43
30. Missouri5.36
31. California5.35
32. Iowa5.12
33. Michigan5.11
34. Nevada5.00
35. Florida5.00
36. Arkansas4.98
37. North Carolina4.98
38. Nebraska4.92
39. New York4.78
40. Hawaii4.77
41. Alaska4.72
42. New Mexico4.68
43. South Carolina4.62
44. Rhode Island4.34
45. Washington4.19
46. Tennessee4.12
47. Maryland3.94
48. Illinois3.91
49. Minnesota3.57
50. Massachusetts3.38

Not surprisingly, conservative states tend to take a tougher stance on crime, liberal states a more lenient one (although the libertarian-left states of Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire are relatively harsh). The correlation between strictness and Bush's share of the '04 vote is .47 (p-value of zero).

Geographically, the Northwestern interior and the South are the most stringent (with the notable exceptions of Arkansas, Tennessee, and the Carolinas), while the West coast and parts of the Midwest are the most permissive, but no clear patterns emerge (see a visual representation here--click on each of the ranges at the bottom left of the map to better distinguish individual states from one another).

And opposing mandatory sentencing in favor of judicial discretion, probation, and rehabilitation for serious criminals might not lead to degeneration in the streets of Cambridge, but in Tucson that outcome is more than just a theoretical possibility.

Or are the results even that contingent upon demographics of the state in question? The data suggests otherwise. The crime and strictness indices correlate positively at .52 (p-value of zero). States that are more willing to throw people into the slammer experience less crime even without adjusting for estimated IQ, affluence, average educational attainment, and the like.

How can that be if Mississippi is so strict and Massachusetts so lenient? Obviously you're at greater risk of being murdered in the former than you are in the latter. But Mississippi experiences relatively little crime for being a Southern state. The surprisingly lenient places in the South mentioned previously--Arkansas, Tennessee, and the Carolinas--all suffer from more crime than Mississippi does.

While Bay Staters can feel good about having a few less people in their prisons than North Dakotans can (356 to 359, respectively), they have to accept that the violent crime rate in Massachusetts is almost five times as high as it is in North Dakota! Nearby Connecticut incarcerates people at a rate more than 50% higher than Massachusetts does, yet it experiences less crime.

Similar relationships exist in other places. Take tranquil states like Wyoming and Nebraska, for example. The former incarcerates 690 people per 100,000 compared to the latter's 421. But despite (or perhaps in part because of) Nebraska's more diminutive prison population, its crime index is almost 20% higher than Wyoming's is.

Based on the proportions of their populations behind bars, you'd think Indiana suffered more from crime problems than does its more sophisticated neighbor, Illinois. Not so.

Even Minnesota, home to the fictitious Lake Woebegon (and in many ways its embodiment at the national level) experiences crime rates about 12% higher than the perpetually impoverished and 'backwards' state of West Virginia does. The coalminers throw more people in jail, though (443 to 300).

The US' 'unique' demographic situation (28% NAM) among developed nations leads me to believe that we do not, as a country, have "astronomical" rates of imprisonment, nor do our individual states that are less hesitant than others to lock people up. I agree with Ron Guhname instead:
The adjective I would use is appropriate.
Wally The Whale
Wally The Whale

Posts : 7
Join date : 2014-01-12
Location : Georgia, USA

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