Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2018

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Political Science

First Advisor

Dr. Andrew Baker

Second Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Fitzgerald

Third Advisor

Dr. Susan Hallstead


Trust in the police is low throughout Latin America, particularly among residents of urban areas. The principle aim of this investigation is to determine why people in rural areas exhibit higher levels of trust in the police than their urban counterparts. This study focuses on the instrumental perspective of explaining trust, which emphasizes the importance of the performance of the police. Measures of negative experiences with the performance of the police are used to explain the difference in trust between urban and rural areas. The analyses find that people in urban areas are more frequently victimized by crime and solicited for bribes by police officers. Additionally, through regression analyses these differences in experience are determined to be a significant explanation for the differences in trust. The role of police performance in informing citizen trust has important implications for improving trust.