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Police Incentives, Policy Spillovers, and the Enforcement of Drug Crimes

DeAngelo Gregory J. (), Amanda Ross () and R. Gittings ()

Review of Law & Economics, 2018, vol. 14, issue 1, 29

Abstract: We consider the impact of a low priority initiative adopted in specific jurisdictions within Los Angeles (LA) County on police behavior. Low priority initiatives instruct police to make the enforcement of low level marijuana possession offenses their “lowest priority.” Using detailed data from the LA County Sheriff’s Department, a difference-in-differences strategy suggests that the mandate resulted in fewer arrests for misdemeanor marijuana possession in adopting areas relative to non-adopting. However, the lower relative reduction in marijuana arrests appears to be driven by an increase in misdemeanor marijuana arrests in nearby areas not affected by the mandate rather than a reduction in adopting areas. We interpret this result as suggestive evidence of policy spillovers from the low priority initiative.

Keywords: low priority laws; drug crimes; enforcement behavior; police incentives (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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Handle: RePEc:bpj:rlecon:v:14:y:2018:i:1:p:29:n:1