Crime is Terribly Revealing: Information Technology and Police Productivity

Review of Economic Studies, Published Online on March 7, 2020

71 Pages Posted: 22 Jun 2017 Last revised: 30 Jul 2020

See all articles by Giovanni Mastrobuoni

Giovanni Mastrobuoni

University of Turin - Collegio Carlo Alberto; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); IZA

Date Written: October 2019

Abstract

An increasing number of police departments use information technology (IT) to optimize patrolling strategies, yet little is known about its effectiveness in preventing crime. Based on quasi-random access to "predictive policing," this study shows that IT improves police productivity as measured by crime clearance rates. Thanks to detailed information on individual incidents and offender-level identifiers it also shows that criminals strategies are predictable. Moreover, the introduction of predictive policing coincides with a large negative trend-discontinuity in crime rates. The benefit-cost ratio of this IT innovation appears to be large.

Keywords: predictive policing, IT, police, crime, quasi-experiment

JEL Classification: O33, K42, L23, H1, H41

Suggested Citation

Mastrobuoni, Giovanni, Crime is Terribly Revealing: Information Technology and Police Productivity (October 2019). Review of Economic Studies, Published Online on March 7, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2989914 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2989914

Giovanni Mastrobuoni (Contact Author)

University of Turin - Collegio Carlo Alberto ( email )

Piazza Arbarello 8
Torino, Torino 10122
Italy

HOME PAGE: http://www.carloalberto.org/people/faculty/assistant-professors-and-chairs/mastrobuoni/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR) ( email )

London
United Kingdom

IZA ( email )

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