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
Date Written: October 2019
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: Suggested Citation