Safety in Police Numbers: Evidence of Police Effectiveness from Federal COPS Grant Applications

38 Pages Posted: 29 Sep 2016 Last revised: 20 Jan 2017

See all articles by Emily Weisburst

Emily Weisburst

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Luskin School of Public Affairs; University of Texas at Austin

Date Written: January 18, 2017

Abstract

Understanding the impact of police on crime is critical to designing policies that maximize safety. In this paper, I use a novel estimation approach to measure the impact of police hiring, which exploits variation in federal Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) hiring grants, while also controlling for the endogenous decisions of police departments to apply for these grants. Using data from nearly 7,000 U.S. municipalities, I find that a 10% increase in police employment rates reduces violent crime rates by 13% and property crime rates by 7%. The results also provide suggestive evidence that law enforcement leaders are forward-looking.

Keywords: Economics of Crime, Police, Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Grants, Intergovernmental Grants

JEL Classification: H72, H76, K42

Suggested Citation

Weisburst, Emily, Safety in Police Numbers: Evidence of Police Effectiveness from Federal COPS Grant Applications (January 18, 2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2845099 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2845099

Emily Weisburst (Contact Author)

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) - Luskin School of Public Affairs ( email )

3250 Public Affairs Building
Los Angeles, CA 90095-1656
United States

University of Texas at Austin ( email )

2317 Speedway
Austin, TX 78712
United States

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