Do Female Officers Improve Law Enforcement Quality? Effects on Crime Reporting and Domestic Violence
67 Pages Posted: 5 Oct 2013 Last revised: 16 Sep 2016
Date Written: September 2016
We study the impact of the integration of women in US policing between the late 1970s and early 1990s on violent crime reporting and domestic violence. Along these two key dimensions, we find that female officers improved police quality. Using crime victimization data, we find that as female representation increases among officers in an area, violent crimes against women in that area, and especially domestic violence, are reported to the police at significantly higher rates. There are no such effects for violent crimes against men or from increases in the female share among civilian police employees. Furthermore, we find evidence that female officers help prevent the incidence of domestic violence. Increases in female officer representation are followed by significant declines in rates of intimate partner homicide and non-fatal domestic abuse. These effects are all consistent between fixed effects models with controls for economic and policy variables and models that focus exclusively on increases in female police employment driven by externally imposed affirmative action plans resulting from employment discrimination cases.
Keywords: Women in policing, occupational sex segregation, affirmative action, crime reporting, domestic violence, intimate partner homicide
JEL Classification: J16, J78, K14, K31, K42, N92, I12
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
By Weixia Gu