Crime as a local public bad, neighbourhood observation and reporting
We examine the effects of giving incentives for people to report crime on crime rates. In particular, we look at what happens when the costs of reporting are negligible and the cost of being interrogated by the police are high in a rational choice model of crime and crime reporting. Perverse equilibria where everyone reports or no one reports (and thus reports have no informational value) emerge. This happens both in a model where police make rational inferences about crime based on reports as well as in a model where police investigate according to fixed rules, operating under a fixed budget. Importantly, generating more reports about crime could actually increase equilibrium crime rates. This occurs via a resource thinning effect caused by "too many" reports. Hence, from a policy perspective increasing incentives for neighbours to report suspicious activities may prove to be counterproductive. We also show how different ways of profiling certain groups of people can either increase or decrease crime rates in the profiled group.
|Date of creation:||May 2006|
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