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The Role of Private Action in Controlling Crime

The Role of Private Action in Controlling Crime

(p.330) (p.331) 7 The Role of Private Action in Controlling Crime
Controlling Crime
Philip J. CookJohn MacDonald
University of Chicago Press

This chapter first discusses the downward trend in crime during the last three decades, and the possible explanations for it, including increases in private security. It then considers the incentives and consequences of private prevention activities; sketches the conceptual issues; and notes that private action can be either socially beneficial or harmful. The chapter looks at motor vehicle theft as a case wherein increasingly effective private action, resulting from technical innovation and government regulation, appears particularly beneficial. It considers the extent to which citizens voluntarily report crimes to the police and cooperate with the investigation; and the costs and benefits of business improvement districts (BIDs), reporting results on the effects of BIDs in Los Angeles.

Keywords:   crime rates, private security, crime prevention, motor vehicle theft, crime control, crime reporting, business improvement districts

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