CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

Saturday, June 13, 2015

MacDonald et al. on Police Surges

John MacDonald Jeffrey Fagan and Amanda Geller (University of Pennsylvania - Jerry Lee Center of Criminology , Columbia Law School and NYU Department of Sociology) have posted The Effects of Local Police Surges on Crime and Arrests in New York City on SSRN. Here is the abstract:

Since 2005, New York City's crime rate has remained at historically low levels not seen since the early 1960s. The New York Police Department's (NYPD) impact zone program has been identified as one of the leading casual factors for the city's low crime rate. These claims have not been subject to rigorous examination. We rely on difference-in-differences and stepped wedge designs to estimate the effect of the NYPD's impact zone program on reported crimes and arrests. The results indicate that the formation of impact zones reduced burglaries but increased overall amounts of reported crime. Most of the crime increase is a result of weapons, drugs, and other arrest related offenses. The increase in monthly civilian stops made by police after an impact zone is formed is associated with a small reduction in crime. However, the number of stops made per crime averted suggests that most stops occur with little crime reduction benefit. The net results indicate that impact zones had mixed and limited success as a crime reduction strategy, and raise fundamental questions about police saturation of neighborhoods and aggressive stop efforts in wake of due process concerns.

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