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Police numbers up, crime rates down. The effect of police on crime in the Netherlands, 1996-2003

  • Ben Vollaard


We present evidence on the effect of greater numbers of police personnel on crime and nuisance reduction in the Netherlands. We use a multiple time series design with police regions as the unit of analysis, covering the period 1996-2003. During this period, police resources increased substantially. The growth in additional resources differed greatly between regions, allowing us to use this policy intervention to identify the effect of police on crime and nuisance. We control for regional economic, social and demographic factors and for national trends that might obscure the effect of police on crime. We find significantly negative effects of higher police levels on property crime, violent crime and nuisance. Our estimates suggest that a substantial proportion of the decline in crime and nuisance during the period 1996-2003 is attributable to the increase in police personnel.

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Paper provided by EconWPA in its series Law and Economics with number 0501006.

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Length: 58 pages
Date of creation: 26 Jan 2005
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:wpa:wuwple:0501006
Note: Type of Document - pdf; pages: 58
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  1. Hausman, Jerry & Kuersteiner, Guido, 2008. "Difference in difference meets generalized least squares: Higher order properties of hypotheses tests," Journal of Econometrics, Elsevier, vol. 144(2), pages 371-391, June.
  2. Raphael, Steven & Winter-Ember, Rudolf, 2001. "Identifying the Effect of Unemployment on Crime," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 44(1), pages 259-83, April.
  3. Corman, Hope & Mocan, Naci, 2005. "Carrots, Sticks, and Broken Windows," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 48(1), pages 235-66, April.
  4. Ziggy MacDonald, 2002. "Official Crime Statistics: Their Use and Interpretation," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 112(477), pages F85-F106, February.
  5. H. Naci Mocan & Hope Corman, 2000. "A Time-Series Analysis of Crime, Deterrence, and Drug Abuse in New York City," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(3), pages 584-604, June.
  6. 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 270-90, June.
  7. Craig, Steven G., 1987. "The deterrent impact of police: An examination of a locally provided public service," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 298-311, May.
  8. 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.
  9. Ann Dryden Witte & Robert Witt, 2001. "What we spend and what we get: Public and private provision of crime prevention and criminal justice," Fiscal Studies, Institute for Fiscal Studies, vol. 22(1), pages 1-40, March.
  10. Steven D. Levitt & Lance Lochner, 2001. "The Determinants of Juvenile Crime," NBER Chapters, in: Risky Behavior among Youths: An Economic Analysis, pages 327-374 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  11. Tauchen, Helen & Witte, Ann Dryden & Griesinger, Harriet, 1994. "Criminal Deterrence: Revisiting the Issue with a Birth Cohort," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 76(3), pages 399-412, August.
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