Crime is Terribly Revealing: Information Technology and Police Productivity

An increasing number of police departments use information technology (IT) to optimize patrolling strategies, yet little is known about its effectiveness in preventing crime. Based on quasi-random access to “predictive policing,” this study shows that IT improves police productivity as measured by crime clearance rates. Thanks to detailed information on individual incidents and offender-level identifiers it also shows that criminals strategies are predictable. Moreover, the introduction of predictive policing coincides with a large negative trend-discontinuity in crime rates. The benefit-cost ratio of this IT innovation appears to be large.

Advance access at OUP

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