Pushing Crime Around the Corner? Estimating Experimental Impacts of Large-Scale Security Interventions

Christopher Blattman, Donald Green, Daniel Ortega, Santiago Tobón

NBER Working Paper No. 23941
Issued in October 2017
NBER Program(s):Development Economics

Bogotá intensified state presence to make high-crime streets safer. We show that spillovers outweighed direct effects on security. We randomly assigned 1,919 “hot spot” streets to eight months of doubled policing, increased municipal services, both, or neither. Spillovers in dense networks cause “fuzzy clustering,” and we show valid hypothesis testing requires randomization inference. State presence improved security on hot spots. But data from all streets suggest that intensive policing pushed property crime around the corner, with ambiguous impacts on violent crime. Municipal services had positive but imprecise spillovers. These results contrast with prior studies concluding policing has positive spillovers.

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Document Object Identifier (DOI): 10.3386/w23941

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