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Studies examine differences in attitudes toward crime, policing

Black Maryland residents may be more likely than whites to think that the police and the criminal justice system is unfair to minorities. However, they also tend to be more concerned about crime than whites. These findings are consistent across surveys conducted by the Pew Research Center and other organizations.

In a 2017 survey, black respondents were more worried about gun crime, crime in their communities, someone breaking into their home or being a violent crime victim than whites were. However, in a different survey that asked respondents to rate their feelings toward police on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 being the warmest, they gave police a mean rating of 47 compared to a mean rating by whites of 72. In another survey, a majority of both whites and blacks agreed that police didn't treat blacks as impartially as whites. However, 84% of blacks believed this compared to 63% of whites.

A disparity exists within police departments as well. Almost twice as many black as white officers said in a 2016 survey that broader problems within policing were at the root of high-profile deaths of blacks in encounters with police officers versus considering them isolated incidents. Blacks were also less likely to consider capital punishment a deterrent.

Regardless of their attitudes toward policing, someone facing criminal charges may want to consult an attorney. Strategies for criminal defense will vary based on the situation, but they could include building a defense for trial, working to get the case dropped because of improper conduct or seeking a plea bargain. If the case goes to trial, the attorney may seek to discredit witnesses and pieces of evidence that are damaging to the defendant.

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