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Past research indicates that legitimacy encourages compliance with the law. This study extends consideration of the influence of legitimacy by exploring its impact on cooperation with the police and with neighbors to combat crime in one's community. It uses a panel study design and focuses upon the residents of New York City. The study finds that legitimacy shapes cooperation with the police and has a lesser influence on cooperation with others in the community. Consistent with the findings of prior research, legitimacy itself is found to be linked to the justice of the procedures used by the police to exercise their authority. Finally, the study explores the influence of personal experience with the police on legitimacy and cooperation. Results suggest that experiencing procedural justice during a personal experience increases legitimacy, irrespective of the favorability of the outcome. These results suggest that the police can generally enhance their legitimacy by using fair procedures.


Criminal Law | Law | Law Enforcement and Corrections