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Police Reform, Training and Crime: Experimental evidence from Colombia´s Plan Cuadrantes

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  • Juan Felipe García

    ()

  • Daniel Mejia

    ()

  • Daniel Ortega

    ()

Abstract

The Plan Nacional de Vigilancia Comunitaria por Cuadrantes (PNVCC) is a new police patrolling program introduced in the eight major cities of Colombia in 2010 by the National Police. The strategy divides the largest cities into small geographical areas (cuadrantes), assigns six policemen to each, establishes a new patrolling protocol involving more community contact, and holds officers accountable for crime in their assigned area. The plan warranted a comprehensive training program for over 9,000 police officers aimed at improving interpersonal skills and implementation of the new patrolling protocols. By staggering the training schedule between three randomly chosen cohorts of police stations, we generate experimental variation in the exposure to training and in the effective implementation of the new police protocols induced by the Plan Cuadrantes. Comparing the 4 months immediately after training with the same months from the previous year, we find a significant reduction in several types of crime attributable to the training program, ranging from around .13 of a standard deviation for homicides to .18 of a standard deviation for brawls. These impacts are driven by very large effects in high crime areas and very small -or zero- effects in low crime neighborhoods. Once we take into account the high spatial concentration of crime, the estimated effects account for an overall reduction in the number of homicides of about 22%. We suggest that the training program affected crime by increasing the patrol police´s sense of accountability to the population and also possibly through higher police motivation. Large efficiency gains in public service provision may be attainable with relatively inexpensive interventions that bring public servants closer to their clients.

Suggested Citation

  • Juan Felipe García & Daniel Mejia & Daniel Ortega, 2013. "Police Reform, Training and Crime: Experimental evidence from Colombia´s Plan Cuadrantes," DOCUMENTOS CEDE 010497, UNIVERSIDAD DE LOS ANDES-CEDE.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000089:010497
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    File URL: http://economia.uniandes.edu.co/publicaciones/dcede2013-04.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Abhijit Banerjee & Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo & Daniel Keniston & Nina Singh, 2012. "Can Institutions be Reformed from Within? Evidence from a Randomized Experiment with the Rajasthan Police," Working Papers id:4813, eSocialSciences.
    2. Gaviria, Alejandro, 2000. "Increasing returns and the evolution of violent crime: the case of Colombia," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 1-25, February.
    3. Abhijit Banerjee & Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo & Daniel Keniston & Nina Singh, 2012. "Improving Police Performance in Rajasthan, India: Experimental Evidence on Incentives, Managerial Autonomy and Training," NBER Working Papers 17912, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    4. Daniel Ortega & Lucas Ronconi & Pablo Sanguinetti, 2016. "Reciprocity and Willingness to Pay Taxes: Evidence from a Survey Experiment in Latin America," ECONOMIA JOURNAL, THE LATIN AMERICAN AND CARIBBEAN ECONOMIC ASSOCIATION - LACEA, vol. 0(Spring 20), pages 55-87, April.
    5. Behrman, Jere R & Craig, Steven G, 1987. "The Distribution of Public Services: An Exploration of Local Governmental Preferences," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 77(1), pages 37-49, March.
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    Cited by:

    1. repec:oup:wbecrv:v:31:y:2017:i:2:p:570-594. is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Daniel Mejía & Pascual Restrepo & Sandra V. Rozo, 2017. "On the Effects of Enforcement on Illegal Markets: Evidence from a Quasi-Experiment in Colombia," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 31(2), pages 570-594.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Crime; Public Sector Training; Field Experiments.;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • J45 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Particular Labor Markets - - - Public Sector Labor Markets
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments

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