Research and Publications

Pennsylvanians’ Racial and Ethnic Expectations of Arrestees and Neighborhood Safety - Dr. Shaun L. Gabbidon, Dr. Eileen M. Ahlin, Tim Servinsky, Neil Shook

The United States was founded and formed on racial divides. These divides have historically contributed to perceptions that racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to commit crimes that come to the attention of police and result in arrest. Racial tensions have been high across the United States in the past decade, and Gallup polls  show a reduction in positive white-Black relations in recent years. Much of this tension is attributable to police killings of persons of color. Researchers at Penn State Harrisburg used data from the Center for Survey Research's Lion Poll to understand whether Pennsylvanians’ perceptions of criminality and violence shifted in response to increased media attention of police-citizen interactions considering the Black Lives Matter movement and Summer of 2020 protests surrounding police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and other persons of color. 

Pennsylvanians’ Perceptions on Capital Punishment – Kaitlyn Rhubright and Dr. Jennifer Gibbs

Researchers at Penn State Harrisburg utilized data from the Penn State Poll to examine Pennsylvanians' opinions on the death penalty.


Kaitlyn Rhubright is an undergraduate student majoring in Criminal Justice and Psychology.  Upon her Fall 2018 graduation, she intends to pursue a dual Master’s degree at Penn State Harrisburg in both Criminal Justice and Psychology. Her research interests include capital punishment, terrorism and juvenile justice.


Dr. Jennifer Gibbs is an Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice in the School of Public Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg, where she studies policing topics, including diversity in police recruitment, public attitudes toward police, and violence against police.  Her work on social distance and attitudes toward police, co-authored with Dr. Jonathan Lee, was recognized in the 2016 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence.


Pennsylvania's Heroin/Opioid Crisis: Resident Attitudes and the Role of State Government - Center for Rural Pennsylvania

The Center for Survey Research partnered with the Center for Rural Pennsylvania to learn about Pennsylvanians’ attitudes toward the heroin/opioid crisis.  Questions included in the Penn State Poll explored Pennsylvanians’ perceptions of the causes of the heroid/opioid crisis and preferences for what the state government’s role should be in addressing the crisis.


Pennsylvanians’ Perceptions of Police Worn Body Cameras – Dr. Jennifer Gibbs, Timothy Servinsky, Jr., Nicole Sturges, and Stephanie L. Wehnau


The Center for Survey Research collaborated with Dr. Jennifer Gibbs to explore views of adult Pennsylvanians’ regarding feelings of safety if a police officer was wearing a video camera.  In addition to the research brief, the Center sponsored a panel discussion event.  More information on the panel can be found here: Police-Worn Body Cameras Panel.