Police Bias in the Enforcement of Drug Crimes: Evidence from Low Priority Laws
R. Gittings (),
Amanda Ross () and
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Annie Walker: University of Colorado, Denver, Department of Economics
No 16-01, Working Papers from Department of Economics, West Virginia University
We consider the impact of adoption of a low priority initiative in some jurisdictions within Los Angeles County on police behavior. Low priority initiatives instruct police to make the enforcement of low level marijuana possession offenses their â€œlowest priority.â€ Using detailed data from the Los Angeles County Sheriffâ€™s Department and a difference-indifferences strategy, we show that the mandate resulted in a lower arrest rate for misdemeanor marijuana possession in adopting areas. However, the lower relative arrest rate is driven by a spike in the arrest rate in areas not affected by the mandate rather than a reduction in adopting areas.
Keywords: drug crimes; enforcement; police bias; laws (search for similar items in EconPapers)
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