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Community monitoring and crime: Evidence from Chicago's Safe Passage Program

Robert Gonzalez and Sarah Komisarow

Journal of Public Economics, 2020, vol. 191, issue C

Abstract: This paper investigates the effect of community-based monitoring on crime in the context of a school safety initiative that employed community members to monitor city blocks during students' travel to and from school. Although we find that total crime decreased by 17% relative to neighboring non-treated blocks, these main effects are not the complete story. We find evidence of treatment spillovers in blocks closest to treated areas, but we also uncover cross-crime substitution within treated blocks, intertemporal reallocation of crime to non-monitored periods, and spatial displacement of crime into areas farther away from treated blocks. Our estimates of the benefit-cost ratio associated with each additional civilian-year of community monitoring are much larger than traditional estimates of each additional police officer-year.

Keywords: Community monitoring; Crime; Deterrence; Crime spillovers; Safe Passage (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D70 H44 K42 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3)

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DOI: 10.1016/j.jpubeco.2020.104250

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