print Print    Share Share  

1996 Clinic Violence Survey Report


Law Enforcement Response Related to Violence Levels

The 1996 Clinic Survey clearly shows that levels of violence correlated with law enforcement responsiveness. This relationship holds for all levels of law enforcement. Only 6.5% of clinics reporting "excellent" local law enforcement response experienced high levels of violence during the first seven months of 1996, compared with 38.1% of clinics which reported "poor" local law enforcement response. Of those clinics describing state law enforcement response as "poor," 40% reported high levels of violence, while only 4.8% of clinics who said state response was "excellent" faced high levels of violence. Twenty-five percent of clinics which said federal law enforcement response was "poor" experienced high levels of violence; only 7.5% of clinics which characterized federal law enforcement response as "excellent" reported high violence levels.

Specific types of violence also correlated with local, state, and federal law enforcement response. Statistically significant relationships at the p<.05 level were found between federal law enforcement response and stalking, vandalism, arson and arson threats, and clinic invasions. Death threats, stalking, and home picketing had statistically significant relationships with state law enforcement response. Local law enforcement response correlated at significant levels with death threats, stalking, home picketing, and vandalism.

The qualitative responses to the survey flesh out the connection between local law enforcement and violence and harassment experienced by clinics. One respondent writes; "Operation Rescue did target our clinic in June 1996. We had the support of local law enforcement. No problems occurred besides the usual shouting and harassment and picketing." Another clinic administrator wrote throughout the survey of the difficulties they have had in securing adequate law enforcement response to harassment and violence, explaining "Arrests on the local level are never made one protester is related to an officer on the force."