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

Author

Listed:
  • Draca, Mirko

    () (London School of Economics)

  • Machin, Stephen

    () (London School of Economics)

  • Witt, Robert

    () (University of Surrey)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Draca, Mirko & Machin, Stephen & Witt, Robert, 2008. "Panic on the Streets of London: Police, Crime and the July 2005 Terror Attacks," IZA Discussion Papers 3410, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
  • Handle: RePEc:iza:izadps:dp3410
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. 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.
    2. 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.
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    6. 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.
    7. Nicholas Bloom, 2009. "The Impact of Uncertainty Shocks," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 77(3), pages 623-685, May.
    8. Klick, Jonathan & Tabarrok, Alexander, 2005. "Using Terror Alert Levels to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(1), pages 267-279, April.
    9. Patrick Lenain & Marcos Bonturi & Vincent Koen, 2002. "The Economic Consequences of Terrorism," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 334, OECD Publishing.
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    11. repec:pri:rpdevs:krueger_maleckova_education_poverty_political is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Evans, William N. & Owens, Emily G., 2007. "COPS and crime," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(1-2), pages 181-201, February.
    13. 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.
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    17. Levitt, Steven D, 1997. "Using Electoral Cycles in Police Hiring to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 87(3), pages 270-290, June.
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    19. 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.
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    crime; terror attacks; police;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H00 - Public Economics - - General - - - General
    • H5 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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