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Panic on the Streets of London: Police, Crime and the July 2005 Terror Attacks

  • Draca, Mirko

    ()

    (London School of Economics)

  • Machin, Stephen

    ()

    (University College London)

  • Witt, Robert

    ()

    (University of Surrey)

In this paper we study the causal impact of police on crime by looking at what happened to crime before and after the terror attacks that hit central London in July 2005. The attacks resulted in a large redeployment of police officers to central London boroughs as compared to outer London – in fact, police deployment in central London increased by over 30 percent in the six weeks following the July 7 bombings. During this time crime fell significantly in central relative to outer London. Study of the timing of the crime reductions and their magnitude, the types of crime which were more likely to be affected and a series of robustness tests looking at possible biases all make us confident that our research approach identifies a causal impact of police on crime. Implementing an instrumental variable approach shows an elasticity of crime with respect to police of approximately -0.3, so that a 10 percent increase in police activity reduces crime by around 3 percent.

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Paper provided by Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in its series IZA Discussion Papers with number 3410.

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Length: 53 pages
Date of creation: Mar 2008
Date of revision:
Publication status: published in: American Economic Review, 2011, 101 (5), 2157-2181
Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3410
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  1. Alan B. Krueger & Jitka Maleckova, 2002. "Education, Poverty, Political Violence and Terrorism: Is There a Causal Connection?," NBER Working Papers 9074, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Gary S. Becker, 1974. "Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach," NBER Chapters, in: Essays in the Economics of Crime and Punishment, pages 1-54 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Steven D. Levitt, 1995. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Policeon Crime," NBER Working Papers 4991, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Gary S. Becker & Yona Rubinstein, 2011. "Fear and the Response to Terrorism: An Economic Analysis," CEP Discussion Papers dp1079, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  5. Freeman, Richard B., 1999. "The economics of crime," Handbook of Labor Economics, in: O. Ashenfelter & D. Card (ed.), Handbook of Labor Economics, edition 1, volume 3, chapter 52, pages 3529-3571 Elsevier.
  6. Steven D. Levitt, 2002. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effects of Police on Crime: Reply," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1244-1250, September.
  7. Patrick Lenain & Marcos Bonturi & Vincent Koen, 2002. "The Economic Consequences of Terrorism," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 334, OECD Publishing.
  8. Alan B. Krueger & Jitka Maleckova, 2003. "Education, Poverty and Terrorism: Is There a Causal Connection?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 17(4), pages 119-144, Fall.
  9. Jonathan Klick & Alexander Tabarrok, . "Using Terror Alert Levels to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," American Law & Economics Association Annual Meetings 1042, American Law & Economics Association.
  10. Cameron, Samuel, 1988. "The Economics of Crime Deterrence: A Survey of Theory and Evidence," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 41(2), pages 301-23.
  11. Marianne Bertrand & Esther Duflo & Sendhil Mullainathan, 2004. "How Much Should We Trust Differences-in-Differences Estimates?," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(1), pages 249-275, February.
  12. Stephen Machin & Olivier Marie, 2005. "Crime and Police Resources: The Street Crime Initiative," CEP Discussion Papers dp0680, Centre for Economic Performance, LSE.
  13. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, 05.
  14. Justin McCrary, 2002. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime: Comment," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(4), pages 1236-1243, September.
  15. Grogger, Jeffrey, 2002. "The Effects of Civil Gang Injunctions on Reported Violent Crime: Evidence from Los Angeles County," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 45(1), pages 69-90, April.
  16. Rafael Di Tella & Ernesto Schargrodsky, 2004. "Do Police Reduce Crime? Estimates Using the Allocation of Police Forces After a Terrorist Attack," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(1), pages 115-133, March.
  17. Jacob, Brian A. & Lefgren, Lars & Moretti, Enrico, 2005. "The Dynamics of Criminal Behavior: Evidence from Weather Shocks," Working Paper Series rwp05-003, Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government.
  18. Evans, William N. & Owens, Emily G., 2007. "COPS and crime," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 181-201, February.
  19. Mirko Draca & Stephen Machin & Robert Witt, 2010. "Crime Displacement and Police Interventions: Evidence from London's "Operation Theseus"," NBER Chapters, in: The Economics of Crime: Lessons for and from Latin America, pages 359-374 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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