This study examines claims data, prepared by an insurance carrier and obtained through an open records request, of police-involved incidents in Rochester, New York from 2001-2012. The dataset includes information about the incidents and financial outcomes accepted by claimants. Eighteen independent variables are broken up into three categories: claimant characteristics, claim characteristics, and situational characteristics. The research question guiding this study is: What, if any, claimant, claim, or situational characteristics impact final settlement amounts for claims stemming from police-involved incidents? Four theories are utilized to explain the phenomenon examined in this study: social capital, power differentials using Donald Black’s behavior of law, bureaucratic efficiency, and the postindustrial policing thesis. Descriptive statistics and bivariate analyses are conducted on the dataset (n = 453) and subset (n = 260). An Ordinary Least Squares regression was used on the subset; it identified five key predictors for final settlement amount: claims that last longer than 3 months; claims offered an immediate payout of greater than $500; claimant vehicle involved; auto impound or auction involved; and child involved. Over the course of 12 years, the City of Rochester limited its losses for police-involved claims to $4.9 million. Fifty-nine percent of claimants received a settlement and 73% of claims resolved within three months. The study indicates that the City prioritizes bureaucratic efficiency over fairness. Policy recommendations are offered. A future research agenda includes interviewing stakeholders, testing hypotheses, and gathering data from similarly-sized municipalities to see if the findings in Rochester hold in other cities in order to make informed generalizations about mid-sized municipalities and their claims processes.
Criminal Justice (MS)
Department, Program, or Center
Department of Criminal Justice (CLA)
Forsyth, Theodore D., "Settling for Efficiency: Power and the People Left in Its Wake" (2021). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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