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The Economics of Policing and Public Safety

The Economics of Policing and Public Safety AbstractThe efficiency of any police action depends on the relative magnitude of its crime-reducing benefits and legitimacy costs. Policing strategies that are socially efficient at the city level may be harmful at the local level, because the distribution of direct costs and benefits of police actions that reduce victimization is not the same as the distribution of indirect benefits of feeling safe. In the United States, the local misallocation of police resources is disproportionately borne by Black and Hispanic individuals. Despite the complexity of this particular problem, the incentives facing both police departments and police officers tend to be structured as if the goals of policing were simple—to reduce crime by as much as possible. Formal data collection on the crime reducing-benefits of policing, and not the legitimacy costs, produce s further incentives to provide more engagement than may be efficient in any specific encounter, at both the officer and departmental level. There is currently little evidence as to what screening, training, or monitoring strategies are most effective at encouraging individual officers to balance the crime reducing benefits and legitimacy costs of their actions. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Economic Perspectives American Economic Association

The Economics of Policing and Public Safety

Journal of Economic Perspectives , Volume 35 (4) – Nov 1, 2021

The Economics of Policing and Public Safety

Journal of Economic Perspectives , Volume 35 (4) – Nov 1, 2021

Abstract

AbstractThe efficiency of any police action depends on the relative magnitude of its crime-reducing benefits and legitimacy costs. Policing strategies that are socially efficient at the city level may be harmful at the local level, because the distribution of direct costs and benefits of police actions that reduce victimization is not the same as the distribution of indirect benefits of feeling safe. In the United States, the local misallocation of police resources is disproportionately borne by Black and Hispanic individuals. Despite the complexity of this particular problem, the incentives facing both police departments and police officers tend to be structured as if the goals of policing were simple—to reduce crime by as much as possible. Formal data collection on the crime reducing-benefits of policing, and not the legitimacy costs, produce s further incentives to provide more engagement than may be efficient in any specific encounter, at both the officer and departmental level. There is currently little evidence as to what screening, training, or monitoring strategies are most effective at encouraging individual officers to balance the crime reducing benefits and legitimacy costs of their actions.

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Publisher
American Economic Association
Copyright
Copyright © 2021 © American Economic Association
ISSN
0895-3309
DOI
10.1257/jep.35.4.3
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractThe efficiency of any police action depends on the relative magnitude of its crime-reducing benefits and legitimacy costs. Policing strategies that are socially efficient at the city level may be harmful at the local level, because the distribution of direct costs and benefits of police actions that reduce victimization is not the same as the distribution of indirect benefits of feeling safe. In the United States, the local misallocation of police resources is disproportionately borne by Black and Hispanic individuals. Despite the complexity of this particular problem, the incentives facing both police departments and police officers tend to be structured as if the goals of policing were simple—to reduce crime by as much as possible. Formal data collection on the crime reducing-benefits of policing, and not the legitimacy costs, produce s further incentives to provide more engagement than may be efficient in any specific encounter, at both the officer and departmental level. There is currently little evidence as to what screening, training, or monitoring strategies are most effective at encouraging individual officers to balance the crime reducing benefits and legitimacy costs of their actions.

Journal

Journal of Economic PerspectivesAmerican Economic Association

Published: Nov 1, 2021

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