Urban Law Enforcement in Canada: An Empirical Analysis

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<ul><li><p>Urban Law Enforcement in Canada: An Empirical AnalysisAuthor(s): William J. Furlong and Stephen L. MehaySource: The Canadian Journal of Economics / Revue canadienne d'Economique, Vol. 14, No. 1(Feb., 1981), pp. 44-57Published by: Wiley on behalf of the Canadian Economics AssociationStable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/134839 .Accessed: 10/06/2014 14:08</p><p>Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms &amp; Conditions of Use, available at .http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p><p> .JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range ofcontent in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new formsof scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact support@jstor.org.</p><p> .</p><p>Wiley and Canadian Economics Association are collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extendaccess to The Canadian Journal of Economics / Revue canadienne d'Economique.</p><p>http://www.jstor.org </p><p>This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 14:08:17 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=blackhttp://www.jstor.org/action/showPublisher?publisherCode=ceahttp://www.jstor.org/stable/134839?origin=JSTOR-pdfhttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsphttp://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>Urban law enforcement in Canada: an empirical analysis W I L L I A M J. F U R L O N G / Queen's University </p><p>S T E P H E N L. M E H A Y/ San Jose State University </p><p>Abstract. This paper examines the issue of crime deterrence as supplied by a single urban law enforcement agency. A simultaneous model consisting of the supply of offences, police production function, and police deployment function is specified and estimated.Account is also taken of crime spillovers among observations and the daily mobility patterns of the population. The deterrent impact of police output is confirmed, but the link between police inputs and the production of deterrence is found to be weak. Consideration of the population's mobility significantly reduces the effect on crime rates of socio-economic factors such as unemployment. </p><p>L'application de la loi dans une ville au Canada: une analyse empirique. Ce m6moire etudie les effets dissuasifs sur les criminels des activites d'un seul corps de police. Les auteurs elaborent un modele specifiant une fonction d'offre d'actes criminels, une fonction de production des services policiers et une fonction de deploiement du personnel policier, et puis ils calibrent leur modele. Les auteurs tiennent compte des effets de retomb6e d'un quartier a l'autre ainsi que des patterns journaliers de mobilite de la population a l'int6rieur de la communaut6 urbaine. Le m6moire vient confirmer l'effet dissuasif de l'activit6 policiere mais le lien entre le taux d'activit6 policiere et le niveau de dissuasion est faible. Une prise en compte de la mobilit6 de la population tend a r6duire de fagon consid6rable l'effet des facteurs socio-6conomiques comme le chomage sur le taux de criminalite. </p><p>INTRODUCTION </p><p>The purpose of this study is to examine empirically the existence and strength of the deterrent effects of urban police activities in a major Canadian metropolitan area. The hypothesis that criminal justice sanctions deter crime by altering the structure of incentives facing potential offenders was formulated initially by Becker (1968) and extended by Ehrlich (1973). The </p><p>Financial assistance provided by the solicitor-general of Canada is gratefully acknowledged. The authors would also like to acknowledge the helpful comments of Richard Arnott and members of the Queen's University Economics Workshop. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the Southern Economic Association meetings in Washington, D.C. </p><p>Canadian Journal of Economics/Revue canadienne d'Economique, XIV, No. 1 February/fevrier 1981. Printed in Canada/lmprime au Canada. </p><p>0008-4085 / 81 / 0000-0044 $01.50 ?) 1981 Canadian Economics Association </p><p>This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 14:08:17 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>Urban law enforcement in Canada / 45 </p><p>deterrent hypothesis has been examined extensively in previous econometric studies and, in general, the results have supported the predictions derived from the economic model of offender behaviour. Nonetheless, interpretation of the results of these studies has been clouded by numerous problems.1 </p><p>A major problem in assessing the deterrent effect of the police is that the bulk of the econometric crime literature has used aggregated cross-sectional data for estimation purposes, often the state, county, or SMSA level for u.s. jurisdictions. The only Canadian crime deterrence studies (Avio and Clark, 1976, 1978) also used aggregated observations; provincial and Ontario census division, respectively. The level of aggregation in the data affects the accuracy of estimates of the effect of municipal police on crime2 and the implications for resource allocation at that level. Those studies which have used disaggregated data have produced conflicting results,3 and no such disaggregated studies of police deterrent effects have been conducted for Canadian cities. </p><p>This study extends and improves previous econometric analyses of crime deterrence in several ways. First, we employ a disaggregated data base composed of districts located within a single Canadian metropolitan area, Montreal. Second, our data reflect both the underlying pattern of resource deployment across districts (neighbourhoods) and the distribution of man- power between the two major crime deterrence police programs, patrol and investigation. The disaggregated data should enable us to establish the full deterrence link between alternative police deployment strategies and crime. It should also allow us to test a richer set of hypotheses concerning police resource allocation. Specifically, a three-equation simultaneous model is formulated to examine the impact of alternative manpower levels and deployment on clearance rates and the effect of the latter on property crime rates. </p><p>We augment and modify existing specifications of the crime deterrence model to incorporate additional factors and to sharpen the focus on the police. Because we are examining police services in a single metropolitan area, potential crime spillovers across neighbourhoods may bias empirical estima- tion of police deterrence effects. While previous cross-sectional studies have largely ignored the crime spillover problem,4 we explicitly integrate crime displacement effects into the model. A second source of bias in previous </p><p>1 For a survey and critical analysis of numerous econometric studies of crime see National Research Council (1978) and Taylor (1978). </p><p>2 Aggregated data will yield accurate results only if all micro units that comprise the aggregate react identically to changes in the variables; the estimated effect of local police will be an average of the true effects for all local units in the aggregate. </p><p>3 While a more direct deterrence link between the police and crime has been examined and supported by some previous studies (Thaler, 1977; Chapman, et al., 1975), it has also been either rejected or only weakly supported by numerous others (Pogue, 1975; Carr-Hill and Stern, 1973; Greenwood and Wadycki, 1973; Swimmer, 1974; Mathur, 1978). </p><p>4 The major exception is a study by Mehay (1977). </p><p>This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 14:08:17 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>46 / William J. Furlong and Stephen L. Mehay </p><p>empirical estimates of deterrence is the omission of the effect of daily commutation patterns in metropolitan areas. In this study an alternative measure of district population, based on both daytime and night-time population, is used to adjust variables expressed in per capita terms. </p><p>EMPIRICAL MODEL AND DATA </p><p>The simultaneous system consists of offence supply, police output and manpower deployment equations. With a given level of resources, the chosen deployment strategy will affect police output, measured as clearances, in each district. Changes in the number of clearances in each district will alter crime rates which, in turn, will influence the police agency, either directly or indirectly through pressure from district residents, to revise the deployment of resources. Hence, the level of crime, police output, and geographic deployment of resources are assumed to be simultaneously determined. The model is estimated with data from the Montreal Urban Community (Muc). The MUC Police Department is composed of thirty-nine police districts, or stations, thirty-eight of which comprise the sample observations for this study.5 We shall discuss each equation of the model in turn. </p><p>The supply of offences The individual decision to participate in illegal activities is assumed to depend on the expected utility of the net monetary gain where all relevant risk factors and potential rewards (monetary and psychic) are considered, including the opportunity cost of forgone legal earnings.6 The offence supply equations are specified to reflect the various economic risk and gain factors: </p><p>n cRj = Bo + BlcLCj + B2 In uNj + B3 In Yj + B4 In YGj </p><p>+ B5 In vLj + B6 In SLj + B7 DFj + el,(1) where </p><p>cR1j = rate of offences of type c in districtj, </p><p>CL,j = clearance rate for offence type c in districtj, </p><p>UNj = male unemployment rate inj, </p><p>Yj = average household income inj, </p><p>YGj = percentage of population male and aged fifteen to twenty-four inj, </p><p>VLj = median value of owner-occupied detached dwellings inj, </p><p>SLj = average sales per retail store inj, </p><p>DFj = crime spillover measure forj. </p><p>5 One district is omitted because it is devoted entirely to recreational use. 6 See Becker (1968) and Ehrlich (1973) for a full exposition of the basic model of individual </p><p>participation in criminal activities. </p><p>This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 14:08:17 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>Urban law enforcement in Canada / 47 </p><p>Separate offence supply equations are estimated for robbery (ROB), breaking and entering (BNE), and theft (THEFT). In addition, two unweighted crime indexes are used as dependent variables. The first is the unweighted sum of the above three property offences (PROP). The second index, MA, includes the violent crimes of homicide, rape, and assault in addition to the three property offences.7 </p><p>The measure of police output is the clearance rate. An offence is classified as 'cleared' when sufficient evidence is available to identify and arrest suspects and to lay supportable charges, even though, as often happens, no arrest is made, owing to extenuating circumstances. Hence, clearances are composed of two separate types - crimes cleared by arrest and crimes cleared 'otherwise.' For robbery and breaking and entering the clearance rate is the ratio of crimes cleared by arrest to reported incidents. For theft, it was necessary to use total clearances to form the clearance rate, because of a lack of data.8 </p><p>Because unemployment tends to reduce the opportunity cost of crime participation by individuals, the male unemployment rate (UN) is entered as an explanatory variable in the offence supply equations. Forgone legal income after capture and imprisonment is another opportunity cost asso- ciated with crime participation, accounted for by entering average household income (Y) in the crime equations. Since arrest data indicate an unduly high propensity towards crime by younger males, the proportion of the district's population composed of males aged fifteen to twenty-four is entered in the crime equations (YG). </p><p>Data on criminal earnings, either actual or expected, are of course difficult to obtain. We must rely on proxies to include the criminal's wage in the model. In an urban environment two classes of ciiminal targets appear important, commercial establishments and private citizens or their residences. Two proxy variables are included in the offence equations to reflect differential opportunities for monetary gain from crime across districts - the average sales per retail store in each district (SL) and median value of residences (vL). It is assumed that the contents of commercial and residential units are the true targets of offenders and that the contents are proportional to the values of SL and VL.9 In an intrametropolitan sample it is necesssary to represent both classes of criminal targets, because often one class or the other may be excluded from a district owing to zoning ordinances. </p><p>7 Misclassification of crimes often occurs and may introduce biases into the reported rates for individual crimes. Use of the two crime indexes may tend to cancel these misclassification effects. A second rationale for the crime indexes stems from the possibility for substitu- tion among offences by offenders. Substitution effects may be falsely identified as deterrence if each individual crime is examined in isolation. </p><p>8 Nationwide, the proportion of non-arrest clearances for theft tends to be small, only about 8 per cent (Bell-Rowbotham and Boydell, 1972). Hence, actual differences between the clearance measures used for the three property crimes may be slight. </p><p>9 These variables encompass a wider spectrum of targets than variables used in previous studies. Avio and Clark (1976), for example, used the number of households with record- playing equipment. </p><p>This content downloaded from on Tue, 10 Jun 2014 14:08:17 PMAll use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions</p><p>http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp</p></li><li><p>48 / William J. Furlong and Stephen L. Mehay </p><p>One problem that arises in a study using observations of intracity areas is crime spillovers across district boundaries. To the extent that offenders are mobile, the socio-economic characteristics of a given district may be unrelated to the local crime pattern. Further, when the distribution of police manpower and therefore the risk of arrest is altered across districts, offenders may simply shift locations, presumably moving away from areas which have become relatively risky towards those that are safer. If so, it will be difficult to identify true police deterrence effects in a given district, since deterred crime may merely be crime that is exported to neighbouring districts. </p><p>Previous studies dealing with crime spillovers (Mehay, 1977; Avio and Clark, 1978) hypothesized that offenders respond to differentials in apprehen- sion risk across jurisdictions. This specification is incomplete, since it omits a second important consideration in the criminal's selection of a target district: the potential pay off...</p></li></ul>


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