Chinese immigrants’ perceptionsof the police in Toronto, Canada
Doris C. Chu
Department of Criminology, Sociology, and Geography, Arkansas State University, Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA, and
John Huey-Long Song
Criminal Justice Department, State University of New York, Buffalo, New York, USA
– The purpose of this paper is to assess empirically Chinese immigrants’ perceptions of thepolice in Toronto, Canada.
– Data were analyzed based on 293 surveys conducted withChinese immigrants who participated in various community service organizations in Toronto, Canada,between March and May 2005. Ordinary least squares and ordered logit regressions are used for theanalysis.
– The paper shows that individuals who had previous contact with police rated police lessfavorably than those who had not had contact with police in the past. In general, people who ratedpolice as helpful when they called them for assistance expressed a higher degree of respect for police.In addition, poor communication was a signiﬁcant predictor of Chinese immigrants’ perception of police prejudice. Finally, a majority of respondents expressed the concern that more bilingual policewere needed in the city.
– As with any study utilizing a non-probability sample, caremust be taken to avoid generalizing the ﬁndings to all Chinese immigrants in Toronto. Since thesample was taken from participants of various community service organizations in Toronto, theﬁndings may not be appropriate to generalize to the other constituencies in the Chinese community,such as young people.
– The paper highlights the need for improving the quality of police services,recruiting more bilingual ofﬁcers (or ofﬁcers from their communities), strengthening police training inracial and cultural diversity, and reducing communication barriers to improve Chinese immigrants’evaluations of the police.
– This research is the ﬁrst to speciﬁcally examine Chinese communities’perceptions of law enforcement in Canada. Law enforcement can utilize these ﬁndings to improve theirservices and address the Chinese community’s concerns; not only can this promote the police-citizensrelationship, but it can also encourage the Chinese community’s participation in a crime reductionpartnership.
Immigrants, Perception, Police, Canada
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The authors would liketo thank the Editor and anonymous reviewers for their helpful commentson an earlier draft of this article. Special thanks go to Henry Liu at
Sing-Tao Daily Newspaper
,Mary Song, and Mary Donaghy.An earlier version of this paper was presented at the 2005 Annual Meeting of the AmericanSociety of Criminology in Toronto.
Received 24 September 2007Revised 2 December 2007Accepted 24 February 2008
Policing: An International Journal of Police Strategies & ManagementVol. 31 No. 4, 2008pp. 610-630
Emerald Group Publishing Limited1363-951XDOI 10.1108/13639510810910599