LSU professor finds proactive policing may be counter-productive

Not a deterrent to major crime

October 01, 2017 - 2:52 pm

By Jeff Palermo

An LSU political science professor finds proactive policing could be counter-productive as a deterrent to major crime. Christopher Sullivan studied a specific seven-week period when the New York Police Department halted aggressive policing against minor crimes and the data shows serious criminal activity dropped.

"Crimes such as grand larceny, assault, rape, murder, declined significantly," Sullivan said.

The public complaints of major crime declined by three to six percent during the halt on proactive policing.

Sullivan says it's possible aggressive policing, which usually targets low-income or minority individuals, may be counter-productive in deterring major crime.

"People are wondering whether or not the legal system actually serves everyone equally, as a consequence they maybe less willing to obey the law," Sullivan said.

Sullivan says further research is needed to understand the long-term effects of proactive policing.

He says another theory is that when you arrest individuals on low-level crimes, it could lead to greater mental and financial stress and therefore raise the likelihood a more serious crime may occur.

"These people are pulled out of their jobs, their local economy suffers as a consequence you put a lot of stress on people who are having a relatively hard time financially as is," Sullivan said.  

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