The Race Between Deterrence and Displacement: Theory and Evidence from Bank Robberies

41 Pages Posted: 27 Jun 2017 Last revised: 16 Sep 2019

See all articles by Vikram Maheshri

Vikram Maheshri

University of Houston

Giovanni Mastrobuoni

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

Date Written: September 14, 2019

Abstract

Security measures intended to deter crime may unwittingly displace it to neighboring areas, but evidence of displacement is scarce. We exploit precise information on the timing and locations of all bank robberies and security guard hirings and firings in Italy over a 10-year period to estimate the deterrence and displacement effects of guards. We find that hiring a security guard lowers the likelihood that a bank is robbed by 35-40 percent, though over half of this reduction is immediately displaced to nearby banks that are unguarded. A simple theoretical model of displacement reveals ambiguity in policies to mitigate these spillovers. Our findings suggest that policies that restrict the use of guards in sparse, rural markets and that require the use of guards in dense, urban markets could be socially beneficial.

Keywords: deterrence, displacement, spillover, policing, bank security guards

JEL Classification: K42

Suggested Citation

Maheshri, Vikram and Mastrobuoni, Giovanni, The Race Between Deterrence and Displacement: Theory and Evidence from Bank Robberies (September 14, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2992761 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2992761

Vikram Maheshri (Contact Author)

University of Houston ( email )

4800 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204
United States

HOME PAGE: http://sites.google.com/site/vmaheshri

Giovanni Mastrobuoni

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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