In 2015, an estimated 21% of U.S. residents age 16 or older— about 53.5 million persons—had experienced some type of contact with the police during the prior 12 months (figure 1). This was down from 26% of residents in 2011.
A similar percentage of residents experienced police-initiated (10.8%) or resident-initiated (10.7%) contact. The most prevalent specific types of contact with police occurred when drivers were pulled over during a traffic stop (8.6% of residents experienced this) or when residents reported a crime, disturbance, or suspicious activity to police (6.7% of residents).
Findings described in this report are based on data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics’ 2015 Police-Public Contact Survey (PPCS), a supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey (NCVS). The NCVS collects information from a nationally representative sample of persons age 12 or older in U.S. households. Te PPCS was designed to collect information from those 16 or older on contact with police during the 12 months prior to the interview.