Economics at your fingertips  

Inequality in the Provision of Police Services: Evidence from Residential Burglary Investigations

Rebecca Goldstein

Journal of Law and Economics, 2022, vol. 65, issue 3, 487 - 513

Abstract: When crime victims call the police for help, what type of response do they receive? While scholars have extensively documented racial inequalities in the police’s punitive functions, this paper considers the police as service providers. It leverages uniquely granular data on over 2,500 residential burglary investigations in Tucson, Arizona, to consider the predictors of investigative thoroughness. Contrary to conventional wisdom about police behavior, the demographics of victims or officers do not consistently predict investigative thoroughness. Instead, the most important predictor of investigative thoroughness is whether the burglary involved a forced entry into the residence, since forced-entry cases feature more evidence and thus provide greater likelihood of case clearance. However, the probability of forced entry differs significantly by neighborhood, which means that the seemingly neutral decision to maximize clearance rates has unequal consequences.

Date: 2022
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Downloads: (external link) (application/pdf) (text/html)
Access to the online full text or PDF requires a subscription.

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link:

Access Statistics for this article

More articles in Journal of Law and Economics from University of Chicago Press
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Journals Division ().

Page updated 2022-10-08
Handle: RePEc:ucp:jlawec:doi:10.1086/719847