Does policing the police increase crime? We avoid simultaneity effects of increased public oversight during a major scandal by identifying events in Chicago that only impacted officers’ self-imposed monitoring. We estimate crime’s response to self- and public-monitoring using regression discontinuity and generalized synthetic control methods. Self-monitoring, triggered by police union memos, significantly reduced serious complaints without impacting crime or effort. However, after a scandal, both civilian complaints and crime rates rise, suggesting that higher crime rates following heightened oversight results from de-policing and civilian behavior simultaneously changing. Our research suggests that proactive internal accountability improves police-community relations without increasing crime.
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
Ba, Bocar A. and Rivera, Roman G., "The Effect of Police Oversight on Crime and Allegations of Misconduct: Evidence from Chicago" (2019). Faculty Scholarship at Penn Carey Law. 2109.
Behavioral Economics Commons, Criminology and Criminal Justice Commons, Law and Economics Commons, Law Enforcement and Corrections Commons, Policy Design, Analysis, and Evaluation Commons, Public Affairs Commons, Public Economics Commons, Public Policy Commons