The Police-Public Contact Survey (PPCS) provides detailed information on the characteristics of persons who had some type of contact with police during the past year, including those who contacted the police to report a crime or were pulled over in a traffic stop. The PPCS interviews a nationally representative sample of residents age 16 or older as a supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). The survey provides information with which to examine citizens' perceptions of police behavior and response during these encounters.
The PPCS is designed to collect information from respondents on the extent and nature of contact with police during the 12 months prior to the interview. Respondents are asked about instances when they sought help from police (resident-initiated contacts) and when police approached or stopped them (police-initiated contacts). Resident-initiated contacts with police include reporting a crime, disturbance, or suspicious activity; reporting a non-crime emergency, such as a medical emergency; participating in a block watch or other anti-crime programs; or approaching or seeking help from the police for another reason. Police-initiated contacts include being stopped by police while in a public place or a parked vehicle (i.e., street stop), being stopped by police while driving a motor vehicle (i.e., traffic stop), riding as a passenger in a car that was stopped by police, being arrested, or being stopped or approached by police for some other reason. The PPCS also collects data on contacts resulting from a traffic accident.