What Cost-of-Crime Research Can Tell Us About Investing in Police

Hidden in Plain Sight: What Cost-of-Crime Research Can Tell Us About Investing in Police

Source: 

RAND Center on Quality Policing

Author(s): 

Paul Heaton

This paper summarizes existing high-quality academic research on the cost of crime and the effectiveness of police in preventing crime. It serves as a bridge to help policymakers understand what the currentsocial-science literature can tell them about the value of investments in police. As such, it translates what is in the social-science literature, providing nontechnical descriptions that highlight the approaches and limitations of existing studies. It then demonstrates a method for comparing the costs of police personnel with the expected benefits generated by those police in terms of reduced crime; it does so by using two real-world proposals—one involving force expansion and one involving force reduction—to illustrate the process.

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