Poll shows some distrust police, most agree on video

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Joe Schwartz

Miller

In the latest Empire State Poll, which asks about trusting local police, about 23 percent of New York state’s black residents and 24 percent of Hispanic or Latino residents reported a low level of trust, compared with only 12 percent of whites and 15 percent of Asian residents.

The poll also found most New Yorkers agree that police officers should wear video cameras while on duty, according to just-released data from Cornell University’s Survey Research Institute.

The detailed poll revealed that fewer black residents (50 percent) reported having a high level of trust in the police compared with white state residents (68 percent). About 64 percent of all New York state respondents reported having a high level of trust in their local police department.

When asked about an overall impression of police around the country, about 45 percent of black state residents had an unfavorable impression of police, while 75 percent of whites had a favorable view.

“I’m a little surprised by the numbers. I was expecting there to be larger differences in attitudes toward the police by the varying demographic characteristics of the respondents,” said Yasamin Miller, director of the Survey Research Institute and the Empire State Poll.

Older state residents were more likely to have a favorable impression of the police. Although a plurality, only 56 percent of New York residents between ages 18 and 24 reported a favorable disposition toward police. Residents with a household income of more than $100,000 were more likely (78 percent) to report having a favorable impression of the police than residents with a household income of less than $30,000 (63 percent).

On the question of whether police should wear video cameras, there was no gray area: Most New York state residents (88 percent) want police to wear video cameras, as all racial groups agreed that police officers should carry video cameras for the purpose of filming their activities while on duty.

In total, 800 telephone interviews were conducted 
between Jan. 20 and March 14, 2015, equally divided between upstate and downstate, and weighted to reflect the actual population distribution within the state.

Miller said of the results: “The more interaction you have with the police, the more likely the interaction will be positive. I think many police departments around the country already know that it’s important for them to interact with their communities in order to establish trust.”


Story Contacts

Blaine Friedlander