Historically, crime is inevitable. No society existing before or today is not without a justice system designed to punish deviants. However, there are ways to reduce crime. Today, it is easier to deter crime compared to the early 20th century when police officers are easily bought by criminals. A way to reduce crime is to increase police presence.
Will Increased Police Presence actually Reduce Crime?
With the current news of police brutality and discrimination, some are wondering whether it is wise to increase police presence in a certain neighborhood. However, there are studies to show a link in the decreased crime rate and increased police presence.
- FSU Law Professor Jonathan Klick conducted a study in 2002 that determined a decrease in crimes per day around the National Mall area of Washington D.C. to 3 crimes, or about 15%. The overall city crime rate decreased to 7 crimes per day or 6.6%
- A study in 2011 by Ben Bradford indicated that a higher level of police presence is linked to lower levels of property crimes committed. A 10% increase of officers in a certain location reduced the crime rate at around 3%.
- George Mason University’s Dr. Christopher S. Koper conducted a study entitled “Just Enough Police Presence: Reducing Crime and Disorderly Behavior by Optimizing Patrol Time in Crime Hot Spots.” In his study he coined the term “survival time”, indicating the period where there are no “observed criminal activity of disorderly behavior after the police departed.”
In his study, he found that for each additional minute of police stops, survival time increased by 23%. The chances of disorder or crime within 30 minutes after a police drive-by were 16%. For police stops of 10-15 minutes, the chances were reduced to 4%.
These numbers seem to be appealing. However, personal crimes, such as murder, are shown to not decrease even with an increase in police presence. Researchers found that these crimes are normally committed out-of-sight. Hence, criminals would not be deterred even with the presence of police officers if they have a thought out plan.
Though not all crimes are deterred by an increase in police presence, it’s still better than having a continuously increasing crime rate. At least, people are assured that their properties are more secure whenever police officers are around.