Effectiveness of stop & frisk

Over-reliance on stop & frisk in some U.S. cities has been criticized in recent years, while “stop & search” is currently hotly debated in the U.K. as a response to increased violence, especially knife crime. This new paper summarizes existing evidence on whether these practices reduce crime and adds analysis of police and crime data from London. The evidence indicates a marginal effect when stop & search is applied in conjunction with targeted “hot spots” interventions, but little if any impact when it is implemented more widely. Also noted is huge variation in usage of the practice between otherwise comparable forces, suggesting that politics and police culture are driving strategy more than scientific evidence.

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