The Effects of Security Threats on Antecedents of Police Legitimacy: Findings from a Quasi-Experiment in Israel

Tal Jonathan-Zamir*, David Weisburd

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

144 Scopus citations


authors compare the importance of "procedural justice" and "police performance" in "Sderot," an Israeli town facing immediate security threats, with other Israeli communities that did not suffer from specific security threats at the time. Results: As expected, assessments of police performance did increase in importance for the public under threat. At the same time and contrary to the authors'hypothesis, evaluations of procedural justice did not decline in importance, and, what is more, procedural justice remained the primary antecedent of police legitimacy in both conditions. Conclusions: There does not seem to be a zero-sum game between "police performance" and "procedural justice" in predicting police legitimacy. Moreover, procedural justice is consistently the primary antecedent of police legitimacy, even when the public is faced with the stressful situation of immediate security threats. The authors encourage future research to replicate their analysis in different settings and particularly under different conditions of security threats.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3-32
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Research in Crime and Delinquency
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This study was supported by the Science and Technology directorate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security under Grant Award Numbers N00140510629 and 2008-ST-061-ST0004, made to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism (START, ), and by the U.S. National Institute of Justice under Grant Number Z909601.


  • police legitimacy
  • policing terrorism
  • procedural justice


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