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Computing Crime: Information Technology, Police Effectiveness and the Organization of Policing

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  • Garicano, Luis
  • Heaton, Paul

Abstract

How does information technology (IT) affect the organization of police work? How does it in turn affect police crime-fighting effectiveness? To answer these questions, we construct a new panel data set of police departments covering 1987-2003. We find that while IT adoption had substantial effects on a wide range of police organizational practices, it had, by itself, a negligible impact on crime-fighting effectiveness. These results are robust to various methods for controlling for agency-level characteristics and the endogeneity of IT use. We then suggest and test two explanations for this puzzle. First, we demonstrate that use of a particular technology, computerized record-keeping, increased recorded crime rates. Second, we provide evidence that IT investments only had a substantial impact on crime clearance rates and crime rates when undertaken as part of a broad set of complementary organizational practices such as those in the Compstat program.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 5837.

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Date of creation: Sep 2006
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:5837

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Keywords: hierarchy; information technology; organization; police; skills;

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Cited by:
  1. Shaw, Kathryn, 2009. "Insider econometrics: A roadmap with stops along the way," Labour Economics, Elsevier, vol. 16(6), pages 607-617, December.

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