The rise in community policing programs during the 1990s has increased community outreach efforts by local law enforcement aiming to reduce crime, including the more than 3 million annual alcohol-related crimes that generate an estimated $84 billion in annual costs. Although community policing activities have become widespread, little is known about how such activities affect alcohol-involved crime. This project will use detailed data on daily crime incidents across numerous U.S. jurisdictions to examine the relationship between community policing activities and alcohol-involved crime. The analysis will address the following questions: 1) Do community policing events reduce DUI, alcohol-involved crime, or other types of crime? 2) How long do the crime reducing effects of these events last? 3) Does the impact of community policing events vary according to the characteristics of the community or law enforcement agency? 4) What are the costs of crime avoided by effective community policing events? Although theoretically it seems plausible that enhanced police-community engagement might allow police to more effectively prevent and investigate crime, the few extant empirical studies that attempt to link community policing and crime employ research designs that make it difficult to cleanly measure the causal effects of community policing activities. Moreover, despite the fact that community policing activities often include components designed to reduce substance misuse, work on the effects of community policing has focused on violent and Part I crime, with little attention given to alcohol or drug-related crime. This stdy seeks to measure the impacts of community policing activities by employing high-frequency data that specifically identifies incidents of alcohol and drug-related crime and domestic violence. It exploits variation arising from the National Night Out (NNO) program, which implements community policing activities across thousands of communities each year on the same date. NNO is held on a different date in Texas than in other U.S. states, furnishing an opportunity to measure the effects of community policing events using a differences-in-differences research design. In addition to providing more credible empirical estimates of the effects of community policing, the study will demonstrate whether community policing activities are more effective in certain types of communities or at addressing particular types of crime. This research will allow policymakers, police chiefs, and the public to better understand whether and how specific community outreach activities of law enforcement agencies can enhance public health by reducing alcohol-involved crime and violence. It will also allow stakeholders to better calculate the return on investment from community policing events.
The rise in community policing programs during the 1990s increased community outreach efforts by local law enforcement aiming to reduce crime, but there is limited empirical evidence demonstrating which types of community policing activities matter or how such activities affect alcohol-involved crime. This study will measure the impacts of community policing events on alcohol-involved crime and domestic violence, and demonstrate whether community policing events are more effective in certain types of communities or at addressing particular types of crime. It will allow policymakers, police chiefs, and the public to understand how community outreach activities of law enforcement agencies can enhance public health by reducing alcohol-involved crime and violence, and assist them in better optimizing their investments in community policing programs.