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The place-based effects of police stations on crime: Evidence from station closures

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  • Blesse, Sebastian
  • Diegmann, André

Abstract

Many countries consolidate their police forces by closing down local police stations. Police stations represent an important and visible aspect of the organization of police forces. We provide novel evidence on the effect of centralizing police offices through the closure of local police stations on crime outcomes. Combining matching with a difference-in-differences specification, we find an increase in reported car theft and burglary in residential properties. Our results are consistent with a negative shift in perceived detection risks and are driven by heterogeneous station characteristics. We can rule out alternative explanations such as incapacitation, crime displacement, and changes in police employment or strategies at the regional level. We argue that criminals are less deterred due to a lower visibility of the local police.

Suggested Citation

  • Blesse, Sebastian & Diegmann, André, 2022. "The place-based effects of police stations on crime: Evidence from station closures," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 207(C).
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:207:y:2022:i:c:s004727272200007x
    DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2022.104605
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Crime; Policing; Crime deterrence; Police station closures; Centralization;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • R53 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Regional Government Analysis - - - Public Facility Location Analysis; Public Investment and Capital Stock
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism

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