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Effects of police body‐worn cameras on citizen compliance and cooperation: Findings from a quasi‐randomized controlled trial
Criminology & Public Policy  (IF4.333),  Pub Date : 2020-06-15, DOI: 10.1111/1745-9133.12505
Mustafa Demir, Anthony A. Braga, Robert Apel

This study tests the effect of body‐worn cameras (BWCs) on stopped drivers’ perceptions of complying with police directives, obeying traffic laws, and cooperating with the police. A quasi‐randomized controlled trial was conducted with drivers stopped at routine traffic checkpoints. Drivers in the treatment group encountered police officers wearing BWCs, and drivers in the control group encountered police officers without BWCs. Surveys were administered after the stop. Findings suggest motorists exposed to BWC officers reported significantly stronger agreement with compliance with police directives, obedience toward traffic laws, and assistance with police duties. Further analysis indicates BWCs generate indirect impacts on specific citizen compliance mediated through improvements in procedural justice, as well as indirect impacts on general compliance and cooperation mediated through improvements in both police legitimacy and procedural justice.