Economics Seminars: Giovanni Mastrobuoni (Carlo Alberto)
0A1, A Block, Priory Road Complex
Title: Police Patrols and Crime (with Jordi Blanes-i-Vidal)
Abstract: Police presence driven by terror attacks has been shown to deter crime. Whether more mobile officers generate similar levels of deterrence remains an open question. This paper exploits a natural experiment that increased police patrolling in more than 6,000 well-defined areas, by economically-realistic amounts and under relatively normal circumstances. Using exceptionally detailed data on crime and police presence (transmitted by GPS devices worn by police officers), we document exogenous and discontinuous changes in patrolling intensity that generate large reductions in crime. But we also find that crime reverts quickly to its previous level once the patrols leave an area. When we aggregate the effects at the daily level the implied elasticities are close to zero.