Every little bit helps: Does diversity in police departments and communities affect arrest rates?
We provide a conceptual replication of representativeness research using a different sample and extend it to understand how the relationship between racial/ethnic diversity within an organization and in its surrounding community can affect treatment of community members. Using the Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics (LEMAS) database, American Community Survey (ACS) and Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program data, we show that the proportion of African-American residents arrested was the lowest when racially diverse police forces were located in diverse communities. Contexts where diversity was not matched, that is, only the police force was diverse or only the community was diverse, still had lower arrest rates than when diversity was lacking in both organization and community. Implications for policy decisions are discussed in light of how the power of diversity may eventually inspire better relationships between police and community, preventing unnecessary and unfounded arrests that scar communities.