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The Short- and Long-Run Effects of Private Law Enforcement: Evidence from University Police

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  • Paul Heaton
  • Priscillia Hunt
  • John MacDonald
  • Jessica Saunders

Abstract

Over a million people in the United States are employed in private security and law enforcement, yet very little is known about the effects of private police on crime. The current study examines the relationship between a privately funded university police force and crime in a large US city. Following an expansion of the jurisdictional boundary of the private police force, we see no short-term change in crime. However, using a geographic regression discontinuity approach, we find large impacts of private police on public safety, with violent crime in particular decreasing. These contradictory results appear to be a consequence of a delayed effect of private police on crime.

Suggested Citation

  • Paul Heaton & Priscillia Hunt & John MacDonald & Jessica Saunders, 2016. "The Short- and Long-Run Effects of Private Law Enforcement: Evidence from University Police," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages 889-912.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/690732
    DOI: 10.1086/690732
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    Cited by:

    1. Gerald Mutonyi & Ann Merecia Sirera & Wangari Mwai, 2020. "Examining Commercialized Security Industry's Services on National Security in Nairobi County, Kenya," Technium Social Sciences Journal, Technium Science, vol. 8(1), pages 710-736, June.
    2. Bindler, Anna & Hjalmarsson, Randi, 2019. "The Impact of the First Professional Police Forces on Crime," Working Papers in Economics 779, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
    3. McMillen, Daniel & Sarmiento-Barbieri, Ignacio & Singh, Ruchi, 2019. "Do more eyes on the street reduce Crime? Evidence from Chicago's safe passage program," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 110(C), pages 1-25.
    4. Jordi Blanes I Vidal & Giovanni Mastrobuoni, 2018. "Police Patrols and Crime," Carlo Alberto Notebooks 551, Collegio Carlo Alberto.
    5. Natalia Vasilenok, 2018. "What Drives the Private Provision of Security: Evidence from Russian Regions," HSE Working papers WP BRP 197/EC/2018, National Research University Higher School of Economics.
    6. Blanes i Vidal, Jordi & Mastrobuoni, Giovanni, 2018. "Police Patrols and Crime," IZA Discussion Papers 11393, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    7. Cheng, Cheng & Long, Wei, 2018. "Improving police services: Evidence from the French Quarter Task Force," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 1-18.
    8. Blesse, Sebastian & Diegmann, André, 2019. "Police reorganization and crime: Evidence from police station closures," ZEW Discussion Papers 18-044, ZEW - Leibniz Centre for European Economic Research.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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