Crime

Exploitative Revenues, Law Enforcement, and the Quality of Government Service

June 23, 2020 // 0 Comments

By Rebecca Goldstein (Harvard University), Michael W. Sances (University of Memphis), and Hye Young You (New York University) | One aspect of recent criticism of police departments has been centered on the aggressive imposition and collection of fees, fines, and civilly forfeited assets. The Department of Justice’s (DOJ) investigation of the Ferguson, Missouri police department, for example, revealed that a key driver of the behavior of the Ferguson police was the desire to generate municipal revenue by issuing traffic tickets and imposing fees. More broadly, a growing body of evidence indicates that local police departments are being used to provide revenue for municipalities by imposing and collecting fees, fines, and asset forfeitures: Census of Governments data from 2012 shows that about 80 percent of American cities with law enforcement institutions derive at least some revenue from fees, fines, and asset forfeitures, with about 6 percent of cities collecting more than 10 percent of their revenues from fines in 2012 (Sances and You 2017). Are the police engaged in this fee and fine collection at the expense of other important activities? Read More

Recidivism and Neighborhood Governance

October 11, 2019 // 0 Comments

Michael Craw and Tusty ten Bensel | Prisoner re-entry and recidivism pose significant challenges for many of our most economically disadvantaged neighborhoods. Ex-offenders face such disadvantages as weakened family and social relationships, outdated skills, stigma in the labor market, and psychological trauma from prison experience. The social isolation and economic vulnerability that ex-offenders face spills over into their neighborhoods, reinforcing neighborhood poverty and weakening local social institutions. At the same time, neighborhood poverty and other forms of disadvantage create barriers to successful re-entry and make it more likely that an ex-prisoner will re-offend. These findings lead many researchers to conclude that cycles of incarceration and re-entry reinforce neighborhood disadvantage in many communities. Read More

Mayors, Accomplishments, and Advancement

September 13, 2019 // 0 Comments

Eric Heberlig (UNC) | It seems straightforward that political advancement would be based on politicians’ accomplishments in office. Voters should want to reward politicians who have demonstrated their competence in office. Apart from the effects of the economy and war on presidential campaigns, there has been little direct examination of whether, and if so how, specific performance in office is related to politicians’ career decisions. Part of the reason for this dearth of research is that voters are generally thought to have very little knowledge, beyond party identification and name recognition, about most politicians. This is particularly true for local offices which typically do not focus on divisive issues that draw intense media coverage and typically do not involve substantial campaign spending. Read More

What Affects Our Sense of Security?

January 19, 2017 // 0 Comments

By Kimihiro Hino, Masaya Uesugi, and Yasushi Asami | Japan has a lower crime rate (number of recorded crimes per 100,000 people) for homicide and theft than France, Germany, the UK and the US. The theft rate in Japan is less than one-third that of the US, while the homicide rate is around one-sixth. However, the nation’s sense of security with regard to crime remains low. Our recent study showed that crime rates affect residents’ sense of security in their neighborhoods, and that these effects differ by the type of crime and spatial scale. Read More