Available data make it impossible to reach strong conclusions about the role of policing in the New York crime decline. Instead, we examine whether innovations implemented in New York fit with what is known about effective policing strategies. Our main analysis focuses on how the New York City Police Department (NYPD) could have continued to contribute to the crime drop over the last decade when the number of police declined significantly. We examine geographic data on crime and stop, question and frisks (SQFs) to show that SQFs are concentrated at crime hot spots. We also show that the NYPD increased these specific hot spots policing strategies despite declining numbers. In our discussion, we speculate on whether this “doing more with less” could be an explanation for the continued crime drop in New York, noting the limitations of drawing conclusions from existing data. We also raise concerns about possible backfire effects of SQF hot spots approaches.
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