Friday, June 21, 2024

Police infrastructure, police performance, and crime: Evidence from austerity cuts | Institute for Fiscal Studies

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Utilizing newly compiled granular data on 7 million criminal incidents within a large police force, I examine the impact of police deployment on crime occurrence, reporting, police investigations, and overall citizens’ welfare. Focusing on a wave of austerity cuts which resulted in the closure of 70% of the police stations (while preserving total police strength), I show that the closures persistently increased violent crimes in census blocks near the defunct stations. Consistent with lower deterrence and police effectiveness, I document reduced clearance rates, reduced reporting of non-violent offences, and lower local house prices in the most deprived areas. The policy appears not to be cost-effective.

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