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Economic Brief

Sept. 10, 2021

Richmond Fed Reviews Latest Literature on Crime, Policing and Community Well-Being

Crime plays a major role in the well-being of a community. In a two-part Economic Brief, the Richmond Fed explores, among other topics, studies on racial disparities on policing, how crime is reported and the effects of police diversity, training programs, and oversight and accountability.

In the first part, economists Ray Owens and Santiago Pinto examine the impact of crime on communities, the relationship between crime and policing, and how policing affects deterrence. They note that studies generally show that an increase in police results in crime reductions.

In the second part, they focus more specifically on studies on racial disparities in policing, crime reporting and the effectiveness of training programs. Owens and Pinto note that the evidence on the whole suggests that policing outcomes are affected by the race of police officers. They also note that this is one aspect of policing and that the most reasonable course of action seems to be a holistic and comprehensive approach to address the problem of crime prevention.

The Richmond Fed’s Economic Brief series provides essays on economic issues and trends. Sign up to receive an email notification when a new essay is posted.


As part of our nation’s central bank, the Richmond Fed is one of 12 regional Reserve Banks working together with the Board of Governors to support a healthy economy and deliver on our mission to foster economic stability and strength. We connect with community and business leaders across the Fifth Federal Reserve District — including the Carolinas, District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, and most of West Virginia — to monitor economic conditions, address issues facing our communities, and share this information with monetary and financial policymakers. We also work with banks to ensure they are operating safely and soundly, supply financial institutions with currency that’s fit for distribution, and provide a safe and efficient way to transfer funds through our nation’s payments system.

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