Panel: Policing and Crime Reduction in the 21st Century: Evidence from Experiments
(Crime and Drugs)

Friday, November 4, 2016: 8:30 AM-10:00 AM
Embassy (Washington Hilton)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Anita Ravishankar, Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia
Panel Chairs:  David Yokum, District of Columbia Government
Discussants:  Kevin Donahue, District of Columbia Government and Clarence L. Wardell, The White House

One of the state’s most fundamental roles is to maintain public order and the rule of law, in order to ensure the safety of its community members. Law enforcement agencies focus on fulfilling this responsibility. Information uncertainty and resource constraints can, however, make this a challenging task: what techniques work, and can we practically implement them? Far too often, state and city agencies lack access to the type of rigorous evaluation necessary to ensure policies and programs are working as expected, and that resources are being optimized. This panel features three studies that make novel use of experimental and quasi-experimental opportunities to conduct precisely this type of rigorous evaluation, with a thematic focus on law enforcement policies and programs. The first paper asks whether hiring more cops reduces crime, taking advantage of a regression discontinuity in federal grant funding to offer a more robust answer to a long unresolved question. The second study explores what effects body-worn cameras (BWCs) have on policing and police legitimacy. Though nearly 95% of police departments around the country have or intend to start a body-worn camera program, little evidence exists to date on whether this new technology actually works as expected. This paper highlights preliminary findings from a citywide randomized controlled trial on the effects of BWCs. The third paper explores how police departments can operationalize procedural justice in a way that translates into quantifiable improvements in relevant field outcomes. Researchers conducted a field experiment to learn about the effects of a new training program aimed at promoting the use of procedural justice by police officers. All three studies focus on providing a sound evidentiary basis for optimizing policy and practice on some of the most pressing questions confronting today’s law enforcement agencies.

Policing and Crime
Jens Ludwig1, Philip Cook2, Douglas L. Miller3 and Max Kapustin1, (1)University of Chicago, (2)Duke University, (3)University of California, Davis

Police Body-Worn Cameras (BWCs) in Washington, DC: Evaluating the Effects of BWCs on Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Outcomes
Cathy Lanier1, Katherine Barnes2, Alexander Coppock3, Ralph Ennis1, Heidi Fieselmann1, Donald P. Green4, Derek Meeks1, Anita Ravishankar1, David Yokum5 and Peter Newsham6, (1)Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia, (2)University of Arizona, (3)Yale University, (4)Columbia University, (5)District of Columbia Government, (6)Metropolitan Police Department

Promoting Officer Integrity through Early Engagements and Procedural Justice in the Seattle Police Department
Emily Owens, University of Pennsylvania, David Weisburd, George Mason University, Karen Amendola, Police Foundation and Geoffrey Alpert, University of South Carolina

See more of: Crime and Drugs
See more of: Panel