Black Lives Matter's Effect on Police Lethal Use of Force

63 Pages Posted: 12 Feb 2021 Last revised: 3 Jul 2023

Date Written: July 2, 2023


How has Black Lives Matter (BLM) influenced police lethal force? An event study
design finds census places with early BLM protests experienced a 10% to 15% decrease
in police homicides from 2014 through 2019, around 200 fewer deaths. This decrease
was prominent when protests were large and frequent. Potential mechanisms behind
the reduction include police agencies obtaining body-worn cameras to curtail force and
a so-called ‘Ferguson effect.’ Fewer property crime arrests, but more reported murders,
were associated with local protests, yet the property crime clearance rate fell.

Keywords: Black Lives Matter, Police, Law and Economics, Police homicides, Use of force, Law enforcement, Ferguson Eefect, Depolicing

JEL Classification: K42, Z13, D74

Suggested Citation

Campbell, Travis, Black Lives Matter's Effect on Police Lethal Use of Force (July 2, 2023). Available at SSRN: or

Travis Campbell (Contact Author)

Southern Oregon University ( email )

1250 Siskiyou Boulevard
Ashland, OR 97520-5022
United States

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