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Using Terror Alert Levels to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime

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Author Info

  • Klick, Jonathan
  • Tabarrok, Alexander

Abstract

Changes in the terror alert level set by the Department of Homeland Security provide a shock to police presence in Washington, D.C. Using daily crime data during the period the terror alert system has been in place, we show that the level of crime decreases significantly, both statistically and economically, during high-alert periods. The decrease in the level of crime is especially large in the National Mall. This provides strong evidence of the causal effect of police on the level of crime and suggests a research strategy that can be used in other cities.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by University of Chicago Press in its journal Journal of Law and Economics.

Volume (Year): 48 (2005)
Issue (Month): 1 (April)
Pages: 267-79

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Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:y:2005:v:48:i:1:p:267-79

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Web page: http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/JLE/

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  1. Steven D. Levitt, 1995. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Policeon Crime," NBER Working Papers 4991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Steven D. Levitt, 2002. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effects of Police on Crime: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1244-1250, September.
  3. Edward E. Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote & Jose A. Scheinkman, 1995. "Crime and Social Interactions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1738, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Cameron, Samuel, 1988. "The Economics of Crime Deterrence: A Survey of Theory and Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 301-23.
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