The 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 people. Despite the complexity of this particular problem, we point out that 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. Data collection on the crime reducing benefits of policing, and not the legitimacy costs, produce 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.
Time Period : 1993 – 2016
The following publication is supplemented by the data in this project.
- Single study
- United States
- Data and Code for: The Economics of Policing and Public Safety
- Single study