The Effect of Police Oversight on Crime and Allegations of Misconduct: Evidence from Chicago

89 Pages Posted: 29 Jan 2019 Last revised: 22 Mar 2021

See all articles by Bocar A. Ba

Bocar A. Ba

University of Pennsylvania

Roman Rivera

Columbia University

Date Written: October 19, 2019


Does policing the police increase crime? We avoid simultaneity effects of increased public oversight following an officer-involved shooting scandal by identifying events in Chicago that only impacted officers’ self-monitoring. We estimate crimes’ response to types of oversight using generalized synthetic control methods. Cautionary notes from the police union, inducing officers to self-monitor, significantly reduced Constitutional violation complaints without increasing crime. In contrast, complaints and crime rise post-scandal. This suggests that higher crime following more oversight results not solely from de-policing but also from civilian behavior simultaneously changing. Our research suggests that proactive accountability improves police resident interactions without increasing crime.

Keywords: law enforcement misconduct, corruption, deterrent effect of police on crime, impact of police oversight, police accountability, objective function of police, misconduct allegations, constitutional violations, de-policing, officer-involved-shooting, crime data, scandal-based study, simultaneity bias

JEL Classification: J52, K14, K42, H76

Suggested Citation

Ba, Bocar A. and Rivera, Roman, The Effect of Police Oversight on Crime and Allegations of Misconduct: Evidence from Chicago (October 19, 2019). U of Penn, Inst for Law & Econ Research Paper No. 19-42, Available at SSRN: or

Bocar A. Ba (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States

Roman Rivera

Columbia University ( email )

3022 Broadway
New York, NY 10027
United States

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics