Crime reduction is an important policy goal of police deployment. The New York City Police Department (NYPD) under Operation Impact deployed extra police officers to high crime areas designated as impact zones. Officers were encouraged to conduct investigative stops in these areas. City officials credited the program as one of the leading causes of New York City's low crime rate.
Abstract: We tested the effects of Operation Impact on reported crimes and arrests from 2004 to 2012 using a difference-in-differences approach. We used Poisson regression models to compare differences in crime and arrest counts before and after census block groups were designated as impact zones compared to census block groups in the same NYPD precincts but outside impact zones. Impact zones were significantly associated with reductions in total reported crimes, assaults, burglaries, drug violations, misdemeanor crimes, felony property crimes, robberies, and felony violent crimes. Impact zones were significantly associated with increases in total reported arrests, arrests for burglary, arrests for weapons, arrests for misdemeanor crimes, and arrests for property felony crimes. Impact zones were also significantly associated with increases in investigative stops for suspected crimes, but only the increase in stops made based on probable cause indicators of criminal behaviors were associated with crime reductions. The largest increase in investigative stops in impact zones was based on indicators of suspicious behavior that had no measurable effect on crime. The findings suggest that saturating high crime blocks with police helped reduce crime in New York City, but that the bulk of the investigative stops did not play an important role in the crime reductions. The findings indicate that crime reduction can be achieved with more focused investigative stops.
Join the College of Public Policy and the Department of Criminal Justice for an insightful look as how Professor MacDonald will show what effects Operation Impact had on total crime reduction from 2004 to 2012.
Students, faculty and staff are invited to attend a Meet and Greet with Professor MacDonald one hour prior to his talk. Meet and Greet will be held in the Executive Conference Room, Frio St. Bldg., Room 4.450A.
About Dr. John MacDonald
John MacDonald, Professor of Criminology and Sociology; Penny and Robert A. Fox Faculty Director of the Fels Institute of Government, University of Pennsylvania, studies the effects of public policy on crime and safety, including applications of quasi-experimental methods to evaluating programs and policies. In 2012, he received the Association of Public Policy and Management's David N. Kershaw Award, established to honor individuals younger than 40 who have made significant contributions to the field of public policy analysis and management. He has served as a principal investigator and co-principal investigator on health, injury prevention, and crime research projects through funding provided by the American Statistical Association, the National Institute of Justice, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the National Institutes of Health. His recent work appears in the American Journal of Public Health, Journal of Law and Economics, Justice Quarterly, and PLoS One.
Click here to read his journal article on the effects of local police surges on crime and arrests in New York City, published in PLoSOne.
Event is free and open to the public. Parking is free in Lot D-3 under the IH-35 bridge.
The Dean’s Distinguished Lectures are designed to encourage scholarly exchange among students, faculty, and the community on a variety of issues. These talks offer a forum for productive dialogue about how policy intersects with many aspects of our lives. The College brings scholars and policy analysts who are experts in their fields to offer introspection on how organizations deal with problems impacting the community, nation and world. The lectures continue to support the mission of the College to advance public policy through recognized research, engaged learning and educational programs.