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Stirring Up a Hornets’ Nest: Geographic Distribution of Crime

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  • Sebastian Galiani

    ()

  • Ivan Lopez Cruz

    ()

  • Gustavo Torrens

    ()

Abstract

How to make police deployment strategies more efficient is becoming the crucial research agenda for the economics of crime and law enforcement. We contribute to this agenda developing the first general equilibrium model designed to study how the geographic distribution of police protection affects the decision to pursue illegal activities, the intensity and location of crime, residential choices, housing prices, and the welfare of different socioeconomic groups. The target is to explore the positive and normative long-run effects of different ways of spatially allocating police forces in an urban area. We find that, when the police protect some neighborhoods (concentrated protection), the city becomes segregated, while when the police are evenly deployed across the city (dispersed protection), an integrated city emerges. Unequal societies face a difficult dilemma in that concentrated protection maximizes aggregate welfare but exacerbates social disparities. Taxes and subsidies can be employed to offset the disadvantages of police concentration. Private security makes an integrated city less likely to occur in equilibrium. Even under dispersed public protection, rich agents may use private security to endogenously isolate themselves in closed neighborhoods.

Suggested Citation

  • Sebastian Galiani & Ivan Lopez Cruz & Gustavo Torrens, 2018. "Stirring Up a Hornets’ Nest: Geographic Distribution of Crime," Documentos de Trabajo LACEA 016343, The Latin American and Caribbean Economic Association - LACEA.
  • Handle: RePEc:col:000518:016343
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Sanfelice, Viviane, 2019. "Are safe routes effective? Assessing the effects of Chicago’s Safe Passage program on local crimes," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 164(C), pages 357-373.
    3. Amodio, Francesco, 2019. "Crime protection investment spillovers: Theory and evidence from the City of Buenos Aires," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 159(C), pages 626-649.
    4. Deng, Liuchun & Sun, Yufeng, 2017. "Criminal network formation and optimal detection policy: The role of cascade of detection," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 141(C), pages 43-63.
    5. Ignacio Munyo & Martín Rossi, 2016. "Police-Monitored Cameras and Crime," Working Papers 126, Universidad de San Andres, Departamento de Economia, revised Oct 2018.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Policy deployment; Crime; Spatial equilibrium; Inequality;

    JEL classification:

    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law
    • R12 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Size and Spatial Distributions of Regional Economic Activity; Interregional Trade (economic geography)

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