Recent events in the United States have called to light the institution of policing in our country’s history. As the Black Lives Matter Movement protests from the summer of 2020 occurred, my interest in researching the notions of policing grew and I began to recall my experiences in my own hometown of Youngstown, Ohio. As I heard rhetoric of over-policing and police violence occurring in disadvantaged minority communities I began to question why my own experiences growing up in a disadvantaged minority community was so contrasting from the general public. Society cites over-policing in communities to violent crime rates and a need to police spaces with a lack of economic opportunity, but Youngstown became a city with noticeably high violent crime rates, little economic opportunity but carries the opposite clear sense of under-policing in the city. I conducted this descriptive independent thesis to address this paradox and answer the question of if and how over and under-policing affected the crime rates of Youngstown specifically. Through three distinct time periods, ( 1970s- early 1980s, 1990s, and 2010s) data depicts a narrative of a city faced with sudden job and population loss and increases in poverty and violent crime rates. Youngstown shifts from a predominately middle class White demographic to a half Black population in 40 years and shifts from over-policing to under-policing become prevalent based on crime and arrest rates. These trends suggest that the institution of policing in the U.S. relies on over-policing when the larger community is predominately White and middle class, but as diversity grows and economic attainment decreases police become less invested and under-policing prevails as in the case of Youngstown.


Avi Munoz


Political Science

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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