Crime and Demand for Police

56 Pages Posted: 13 Apr 2023

See all articles by Michael Coury

Michael Coury

State University of New York (SUNY) - College of Arts and Sciences


This paper studies how exposure to crime affects demand for policing using a unique setting where both crime and demand for police can be measured at the neighborhood level. I use precinct-level returns from ballot measures in San Francisco to provide novel evidence on how individuals’ support for pro-police policies responds to exposure to crime. Using variation in criminal activity across neighborhoods around election day, I find that each additional violent crime leads to an increase in support for police union-endorsed ballot positions ranging from 2.9 percentage points for homicides to 0.4 percentage points for lesser crimes. The effects are largest in neighborhoods with high shares of white residents.

Keywords: H72, H41, D72

Suggested Citation

Coury, Michael, Crime and Demand for Police. Available at SSRN: or

Michael Coury (Contact Author)

State University of New York (SUNY) - College of Arts and Sciences ( email )

Amherst, NY 14260
United States

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