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College of Law

Florida State University

 

2005 Press Releases


New York Times features study by FSU College of Law Professor Jonathan Klick

Jun 01, 2005

TALLAHASSEE—A study by Jonathan Klick, Jeffery A. Stoops Professor of Law, is featured in the “Economic Scene” column of the June 16, 2005 New York Times (page C2).

The column highlights Professor Klick’s recent article, “Using Terror Alert Levels to Estimate the Effect of Police on Crime,” published in the April 2005 Journal of Law and Economics. The article is co-authored with Alexander Tabarrok, a professor of economics at George Mason University. A copy of the article is available at http://mason.gmu.edu/~atabarro/TabarrokPublishedPapers.html.

In their study, Klick and Tabarrok use terror alerts to examine the effects on crime of more police in the Washington, D.C. area. Many social scientists estimate that the number of police officers has no effect on crime, but it is difficult to separate cause and effect relationships since cities with more police officers may have more crime. Klick and Tabarrok use a “natural experiment” – terror alerts that increase police officers for reasons having nothing to do with crime rates. This allows them to compare crime rates both before and after they went into effect. Their study controls for tourism and the effects throughout various areas of the city, and also examines the effects on various types of crimes.

“On high alert days,” Klick and Tabarrok suggest, “total crimes decrease by an average of seven crimes per day, or approximately 6.6 percent.” According to the New York Times, “Since the terror-alert system operates nationally, this research can be replicated in any other city willing to share it daily crime statistics.”

Professor Klick has published numerous articles in law and economics. He holds a J.D. and a Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University. 

June 2005