The Effects of Body-Worn Cameras on Police Efficiency: A Study of Local Police Agencies in the US

50 Pages Posted: 6 Nov 2020 Last revised: 7 Dec 2020

Date Written: October 31, 2020

Abstract

Do Body-Worn Cameras improve police efficiency? This study answers this question in the context of a sample of local police agencies in the US, where the adoption of BWCs by police agencies has increased significantly in recent years. To estimate the effects of BWCs on police efficiency, I exploited the differences in the adoption of BWCs between agencies that acquired them ("acquirers") and agencies that deployed them ("deployers"). Using a multiple stage approach, in the first stage, I estimated the efficiency of local police agencies using a robust order-m model. In the second stage, I estimated the effects of BWCs using a range of matching estimators and an instrumental variable model. The first stage results show that police agencies could improve their efficiency by 31 percent from 0.76 to 1. The second stage matching and IV estimates suggest that BWCs can help improve police efficiency between eight and 21 percentage points. The effects are larger for those agencies that fully deployed BWCs with their officers. Overall, this study’s results support the argument that BWCs can help improve police efficiency

Keywords: Police, Performance, Efficiency, Data Envelopment Analysis, Matching Estimators, Instrumental Variables

JEL Classification: C26, D24, H11, H44, L23

Suggested Citation

Alda, Erik, The Effects of Body-Worn Cameras on Police Efficiency: A Study of Local Police Agencies in the US (October 31, 2020). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3722508 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3722508

Erik Alda (Contact Author)

American University ( email )

Washington, DC 20016
United States

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