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The Effect of Police Slowdowns on Crime

56 Pages Posted: 7 Aug 2009 Last revised: 4 Apr 2017

Andrea Cann Chandrasekher

University of California, Davis - School of Law

Date Written: August 31, 2016

Abstract

Though police strikes have been well studied, there are almost no articles written on the public safety consequences of police work slowdowns---labor actions where police officers reduce their ticket-writing and/or arrest productivity for a temporary period. This article fills the current void by presenting evidence on the 1997 New York City Police Department work slowdown, to my knowledge the longest documented police slowdown in US history. Drawing on several, originally-collected data sources from the NYPD and other city agencies, the article assesses the impact of the slowdown on ticket enforcement, arrest enforcement, and crime. The findings indicate that, at least in the context of contract-motivated slowdowns where the union may be motivated to garner public support for pay increases, the effects on public safety may be limited. Specifically, in the case of the 1997 slowdown, ticket-writing for all categories of tickets fell dramatically but arrest enforcement for all types of serious crime stayed the same or increased. Accordingly, the crime effects were mostly concentrated in the area of minor criminal disorder (misdemeanors and violations). Only two categories of serious crime (larcenies and assaults) were affected and those crime increases were minimal.

Keywords: policing, slowdowns, quasi-experiments

JEL Classification: J52, K14, K31

Suggested Citation

Chandrasekher, Andrea Cann, The Effect of Police Slowdowns on Crime (August 31, 2016). Am Law Econ Rev (2016) 18 (2): 385-437; CELS 2009 4th Annual Conference on Empirical Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1443495 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1443495

Andrea Cann Chandrasekher (Contact Author)

University of California, Davis - School of Law ( email )

Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall
Davis, CA CA 95616-5201
United States

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