Crime Displacement and Police Interventions: Evidence from London's ‘Operation Theseus’

Mirko Draca, Stephen Machin and Robert Witt

in The Economics of Crime

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2010 | ISBN: 9780226153742
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226153766 | DOI:
Crime Displacement and Police Interventions: Evidence from London's ‘Operation Theseus’

Show Summary Details


This chapter explores a thorny potential problem in the successful implementation of policies that reduce crime, namely the problem of displacement. The approach takes advantage of the large increase in police deployment in central London for the six weeks following the terrorist attacks of July 2005 to circumvent the problem caused by the simultaneous determination of police allocation and common crime. Despite having a credible identification strategy and an impressive data to study the problem, the authors fail to find evidence of large amounts of crime being displaced, either to the geographically contiguous areas or to the period after the six weeks of increased police presence. The results suggest that an increased police force, smartly deployed, might in fact reduce total crime, echoing the arguments made for Latin America.

Keywords: crime; displacement; police deployment; London; terrorist attacks; police force

Chapter.  7888 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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