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The Effect of Police on Crime: New Evidence from U.S. Cities, 1960-2010

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  • Aaron Chalfin
  • Justin McCrary

Abstract

We argue that the key impediment to accurate measurement of the effect of police on crime is not necessarily simultaneity bias, but bias due to mismeasurement of police. Using a new panel data set on crime in medium to large U.S. cities over 1960- 2010, we obtain measurement error corrected estimates of the police elasticity of the cost-weighted sum of crimes of roughly -0.5. The estimates confirm a controversial finding from the previous literature that police reduce violent crime more so than property crime.

Suggested Citation

  • Aaron Chalfin & Justin McCrary, 2013. "The Effect of Police on Crime: New Evidence from U.S. Cities, 1960-2010," NBER Working Papers 18815, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18815
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    Cited by:

    1. Paul Heaton & Priscillia Hunt & John MacDonald & Jessica Saunders, 2016. "The Short- and Long-Run Effects of Private Law Enforcement: Evidence from University Police," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 59(4), pages 889-912.
    2. Hazra, Devika & Aranzazu, Jose, 2022. "Crime, correction, education and welfare in the U.S. – What role does the government play?," Journal of Policy Modeling, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 474-491.
    3. Renee Flasher & Melvin A. Lamboy-Ruiz, 2019. "Impact of Enforcement on Healthcare Billing Fraud: Evidence from the USA," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 157(1), pages 217-229, June.
    4. Philip A. Curry & Anindya Sen & George Orlov, 2016. "Crime, apprehension and clearance rates: Panel data evidence from Canadian provinces," Canadian Journal of Economics, Canadian Economics Association, vol. 49(2), pages 481-514, May.
    5. Liu, Zhongyi & Liu, Jingchen & Zhai, Xin & Wang, Guanying, 2019. "Police staffing and workload assignment in law enforcement using multi-server queueing models," European Journal of Operational Research, Elsevier, vol. 276(2), pages 614-625.
    6. Arlen Guarín & Andrés Ramírez Hassan & Juan G. Villegas, 2015. "Fast reaction police units in Medellín: A budget-constrained maximal homicide covering location approach," Borradores de Economia 908, Banco de la Republica de Colombia.
    7. Karsten Albæk & Søren Leth‐Petersen & Daniel le Maire & Torben Tranæs, 2017. "Does Peacetime Military Service Affect Crime?," Scandinavian Journal of Economics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 119(3), pages 512-540, July.
    8. John M. MacDonald & Jonathan Klick & Ben Grunwald, 2016. "The effect of private police on crime: evidence from a geographic regression discontinuity design," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series A, Royal Statistical Society, vol. 179(3), pages 831-846, June.
    9. Lofstrom, Magnus & Raphael, Steven, 2013. "Incarceration and Crime: Evidence from California's Public Safety Realignment Reform," IZA Discussion Papers 7838, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    10. Gonzalez, Robert & Komisarow, Sarah, 2020. "Community monitoring and crime: Evidence from Chicago's Safe Passage Program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 191(C).
    11. Sofia Amaral & Siddhartha Bandyopadhyay, 2015. "Court Backlogs and Crime in India," IIM Kozhikode Society & Management Review, , vol. 4(2), pages 86-91, July.
    12. Zimmerman, Paul R., 2014. "The deterrence of crime through private security efforts: Theory and evidence," International Review of Law and Economics, Elsevier, vol. 37(C), pages 66-75.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H76 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Other Expenditure Categories
    • J18 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Demographic Economics - - - Public Policy
    • K42 - Law and Economics - - Legal Procedure, the Legal System, and Illegal Behavior - - - Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law

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