More Canadian Police Means Less Crime

New empirical insights into Canadian policing are derived from publicly available panel data collected by Statistics Canada between 1998 and 2017 across almost 700 Canadian municipal police jurisdictions. Canadian police jurisdictions that hire more officers tend to experience less crime overall, in...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:Canadian journal of criminology and criminal justice
Main Author: Demers, Simon (Author)
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
Published: 2019
In:Canadian journal of criminology and criminal justice
Year: 2019, Volume: 61, Issue: 4, Pages: 69-100
Online Access: Volltext (Resolving-System)
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Summary:New empirical insights into Canadian policing are derived from publicly available panel data collected by Statistics Canada between 1998 and 2017 across almost 700 Canadian municipal police jurisdictions. Canadian police jurisdictions that hire more officers tend to experience less crime overall, including less property crime specifically. Each additional Canadian police officer correlates with slightly fewer homicides and 13.3 fewer reported property crimes on average, including 2.9 fewer burglaries and 3.7 fewer stolen vehicles annually. The results cannot be explained away by time-invariant jurisdiction-specific factors, population growth, or other time trends common to all jurisdictions. In elasticity terms, a 1% increase in Canadian police staffing is associated empirically with reductions of 0.93% in homicides, 0.44% in property crimes, 0.63% in burglaries, and 1.37% in vehicle thefts. Purely in terms of crime reduction and reduced victimization across these crime types, it is estimated that the typical Canadian police officer has the potential to generate a marginal benefit to society worth more than $114,000 annually. Taking into account unreported property crime would increase the marginal benefit to society up to $198,000. This new evidence confirms that public investments into local policing can contribute to the reduction of crime and can yield social benefits that exceed their costs.
ISSN:1911-0219
DOI:10.3138/cjccj.2018-0049