This report presents data for 2018 on police-public contacts during the prior 12 months, based on information from a nationally representative sample of persons age 16 or older in U.S. households.
This report is based on data from the U.S. Justice Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics’ 2018 Police-Public Contact Survey (PPCS), which is a supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). In the 2018 PPCS, U.S. residents were asked about instances in which they sought help from police (resident-initiated contacts) and when police approached or stopped them (police-initiated contacts). Resident-initiated contacts with police included reporting a crime, disturbance, or suspicious activity; reporting a non-crime emergency such as a medical emergency; reporting a non-emergency such as asking for directions; participating in a block watch or other anti-crime program; or approaching or seeking help from police for another reason. Police-initiated contacts included being stopped by police while in a public place or a parked vehicle, being stopped by police while driving a motor vehicle, being arrested, or being stopped or approached by police for some other reason. The PPCS also collected data on contacts resulting from a traffic accident. The study found that about 61.5 million residents had at least one contact with police. Twenty-four percent of residents experienced contact with police, up from 21 percent in 2015. The findings include percentages by race, sex, and age on the types of police contacts and whether they experienced threats or use of force.
In the prior 12 months, as of 2018, among persons age 16 or older—
- About 61.5 million residents had at least one contact with police.
- Twenty-four percent of residents experienced contact with police, up from 21% in 2015.
- Whites (26%) were more likely than blacks (21%), Hispanics (19%), or persons of other races (20%) to experience police contact.
- There was no statistically significant difference in the percentage of whites (12%) and blacks (11%) who experienced police-initiated contact.