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Do Police Reduce Crime? Estimates Using the Allocation of Police Forces After a Terrorist Attack

Rafael Di Tella and Ernesto Schargrodsky

Part of the CSED Seminar Series

Abstract

An important challenge in the crime literature is to isolate casual effects of police on crime. Following a terrorist attack on the main Jewish center in Buenos Aires in July 1994, all Jewish institutions were given 24-hour police protection. Using data on the location of car thefts before and after the attack, Di Tella and Schargrodsky find a large deterrent effect of observable police presence on crime. The effect is local, with no appreciable impact outside the narrow area in which th epolice are deployed.

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