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RACE ON POLICING: Estimating the Relationship 2

In interpreting Table 4, it is important to bear in mind the caveat that a direct measure of crime by race is not available. Identification of the model is based on the assumption that in cities with large minority populations, a greater fraction of a minority police officer’s dealings with criminals will be with minorities, and similarly for white officers in cities with a larger white population share. By using interaction terms, it is possible to separately identify the differential impact that police of each race have on crime committed by race.

If 62 is more negative than 0j, then this suggests that an additional non-white officer is associated with a greater reduction in white crime than an additional white officer. As an informal check on the validity of this indirect approach, we also report estimates using arrest rates as the dependent variable. For arrests, we do have breakdowns by race. Thus, we can compare the results of the indirect approach to those from the direct estimation in the preceding section. To the extent that similar results are obtained, our confidence in the indirect approach increases.

Each column of Table 4 corresponds to a different dependent variable. The first four columns are the arrest variables, presented as a check on the indirect identification approach.

The final two columns reflect property and violent crime. Because there are no measures of the frequency of “victimless” crimes such as drug dealing or prostitution, it is not possible to analyze either drug crimes or total crimes in this framework. The interaction terms between race of police and race of the populations are presented in the top four rows. For simplicity, the interpretation of the interaction term (e.g. white police on whites) is listed rather than the interaction term itself (e.g. white police * percent of the city population that is white).

The first four columns with arrests as the dependent variables provide somewhat mixed support for the validity of the indirect identification strategy. In columns 1, 2 and 4, the same pattern of coefficients are obtained as is the case using the direct identification of Tables 2 and 3. For violent arrests, however, the pattern of coefficients is the reverse of Table 2. Thus, there is mixed support for the validity of the indirect identification strategy and caution is required in interpreting results using this approach.

That caveat in mind, the results for property crime in column 5 are striking. For both whites (rows 1 and 2) and non-whites (rows 3 and 4), same-race policing is associated with greater reductions in crime rates. Adding a white officer to a city that is entirely white is associated with decline of almost nine property crimes; adding a white officer to a city with no white residents is associated with an increase of almost four property crimes. For non-white police, an even more extreme differential exists.

For violent crime, on the other hand, no clear pattern emerges. White police are associated with slightly better impacts on crime than nonwhite officers regardless of the race of the citizens, but in neither case are the results statistically significant at the .05 level. Declining city populations are associated with rising crime, as are Black mayors, and (for property crime only) high unemployment rates and low incomes. direct lenders for payday loans