Facilitating Police Reform: Body Cameras, Use of Force, and Law Enforcement Outcomes

70 Pages Posted: 2 Nov 2019 Last revised: 3 Aug 2023

Date Written: October 23, 2019

Abstract

Body-worn cameras (BWCs) have emerged as a crucial reform to restore police legitimacy. However, mixed results from previous single-agency studies have raised concerns about the generalizability of positive findings. This study addresses these limitations by analyzing data from 1,001 agencies across the US that adopted BWCs between 2014 and 2016, using a quasi-experimental event study approach. I find that BWCs reduced police-involved homicides, particularly in regions with higher incidents of such events and agencies with comprehensive activation policies. This study also provides the first evidence of BWC effects on agency-wide crime control activities, revealing no substantial reductions in overall policing or crime rates. The findings provide insights into the circumstances under which BWCs can effectively enhance police accountability and performance.

Suggested Citation

Kim, Taeho, Facilitating Police Reform: Body Cameras, Use of Force, and Law Enforcement Outcomes (October 23, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3474634 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3474634

Taeho Kim (Contact Author)

University of Toronto ( email )

105 St George Street
Toronto, Ontario M5S 3G8
Canada

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