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RESEARCH

Publications

Focus vs. spread: Police box consolidation and its impact on crime in Korea

Songman Kang; Duol K 2023-01-16 조회수 1,967

A 2003 police organization reform in South Korea led to the consolidation of many local police boxes into fewer but larger patrol stations. The expectation was that such consolidation would allow police to utilize its limited resources in a more flexible and efficient way. In this study, we investigate the impact of this reform on crime by exploiting the variation in the extent of police box consolidation across South Korea. Our estimation results indicate that the areas more strongly affected by the consolidation have experienced a notable increase in crime, especially sexual assault and assault. Moreover, we find evidence that the police box consolidation has had a disproportionately higher impact on crime in rural areas, where the distribution of police boxes was sparser than in urban areas. These findings suggest that varying allocations of police resources can have an important impact on crime, even without a significant change in the overall level of police resources.