AbstractThe standard economic model of police frisks implies that the contraband hit rate should rise when the number of frisks falls, ceteris paribus. We provide the first empirical corroboration of such models of police behavior by examining changes in frisks following the killing of George Floyd in 2020. We find that hit rates from pedestrian frisks rose as police frisks fell dramatically. Using detailed data, we rule out several alternative explanations, including changes in street population, crime, and police allocation. Our findings provide quantitative estimates that can contribute to the important goals of improving and reforming policing.
CitationAbrams, David S., Hanming Fang, and Priyanka Goonetilleke. 2022. "Police Frisks." AEA Papers and Proceedings, 112: 178-83. DOI: 10.1257/pandp.20221100
- H76 State and Local Government: Other Expenditure Categories
- K42 Illegal Behavior and the Enforcement of Law