Hot Spots Policing in a High Crime Environment: An Experimental Evaluation in Medellín

41 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2019

See all articles by Daniela Collazos

Daniela Collazos

Secretariat of Security of Bogota

Eduardo Garcia

University of Rochester

Daniel Mejia

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics

Daniel Ortega

CAF Development Bank of Latin America

Santiago Tobon

University of Chicago; Innovations for Poverty Action

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 15, 2019

Abstract

Objectives: Test direct, spillover and aggregate effects of hot spots policing on crime in a high crime environment. Methods: We identified 967 hot spot street segments and randomly assigned 384 to a six-months increase in police patrols. To account for the complications resulting from a large experimental sample in a dense network of streets, we use randomization inference for hypothesis testing. We also use non-experimental streets to test for spillovers onto non-hot spots, and examine aggregate effects citywide. Results: Our results show an improvement in short term security perceptions and a reduction in car thefts, but no direct effects on other crimes or satisfaction with policing services. We see larger effects in the least secure places, especially for short term security perceptions, car thefts and assaults. We find no evidence of crime displacement but rather a decrease in car thefts in nearby hot spots and a decrease in assaults in nearby non-hot spots. We estimate that car thefts decreased citywide by about 11 percent. Conclusions: Our study highlights the importance of context when implementing hot spots policing. What seems to work in the U.S. or even in Bogotá is not as responsive in Medellín (and vice versa). Further research — especially outside the U.S. — is needed to understand the role of local crime patterns and police capacity on the effectiveness of hot spots policing.

Keywords: Crime, Spillover Effects, Police, Hot Spots, Field Experiment, Colombia

JEL Classification: K42, O17, E26, J48, C93

Suggested Citation

Collazos, Daniela and Garcia, Eduardo and Mejia, Daniel and Ortega, Daniel and Tobon, Santiago, Hot Spots Policing in a High Crime Environment: An Experimental Evaluation in Medellín (January 15, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3316968 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3316968

Daniela Collazos

Secretariat of Security of Bogota ( email )

Av Calle 26 No 57 83
Bogota
Colombia

Eduardo Garcia

University of Rochester ( email )

300 Crittenden Blvd.
Rochester, NY 14627
United States

Daniel Mejia

Universidad de los Andes, Colombia - Department of Economics ( email )

Carrera 1 No. 18 A - 10
Bogotá, AA4976
Colombia
57(1)3394949 ext 3737 (Phone)
57(1)3324492 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://economia.uniandes.edu.co/share/scripts/home/home.php

Daniel Ortega

CAF Development Bank of Latin America ( email )

Ave. Luis Roche
P.O. Box Carmelitas 5086 Torre CAF, Altamira
Caracas
United States

Santiago Tobon (Contact Author)

University of Chicago ( email )

1155 East 60th Street
Chicago, IL 60637
United States

Innovations for Poverty Action ( email )

1731 Connecticut Ave, 4th floor
New Haven, CT 20009
United States

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