August 28, 2014

Latino confidence in local police lower than among whites

Hispanic Views of PoliceAbout half of Hispanics say they have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence in their local police force to not use excessive force on suspects and to treat people equally regardless of race or ethnicity, according to new data from a Pew Research Center survey released earlier this week.

Overall, there are significant gaps in views of local police between whites, blacks and Hispanics, with whites the most likely to express confidence in police and blacks the least likely to do so.

Just 46% of Hispanics say they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in local police to treat Hispanics and whites equally, while 72% of whites say this. Similarly, 77% of whites express confidence in police in their community to gain the trust of local residents, while just 51% of Hispanics and 45% of blacks say the same. 

An earlier report from this survey detailed substantial racial, age and partisan divides on views of policing across the country in the wake of more than a week of protests and unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, over the death of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager shot and killed by a white police officer.

Only 45% of Hispanics say they have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence in local police to not use excessive force on suspects, compared with a greater share (74%) of whites. About one-third (36%) of blacks give positive marks to police on this measure. (While the differences between blacks and Hispanics on several of the individual questions here are not statistically significant, there is a significant overall gap in the views of blacks and Hispanics when these questions are combined into an index of confidence in local police.)

About half (47%) of Hispanics say they have a great deal or fair amount of confidence in local police to treat blacks and whites equally, compared with 72% of whites. A lower share (36%) of blacks say the same.

Meanwhile, a 63% majority of Hispanics say they have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence in local police to do a good job enforcing the law, compared with 83% of whites and 52% of blacks.

Hispanic attitudes toward police are little changed from 2008, when roughly six-in-ten (61%) Hispanics said they had a great deal or fair amount of confidence in local police to do a good job enforcing the law, and 46% of Hispanics said they had the same level of confidence in police in their community to not use excessive force, according to the 2008 National Survey of Latinos.

Topics: Race and Ethnicity, Violence and Society

  1. Photo of Jens Manuel Krogstad

    is a writer/editor focusing on Hispanics, immigration and demographics at Pew Research Center.

2 Comments

  1. Adelina2 years ago

    Just interested on the (Hispanics) Latino numbers,
    Could you let me know how many persons were interviewed?
    and the areas (location) where these persons live ? were these persons interviewed over the phone?
    Thank You.

    1. Ana Gonzalez2 years ago

      Hello Adelina,

      You can find the details of the survey in the methodology section here: people-press.org/2014/08/25/few-…