Frisch seminar: Helmut Rainer

Against the Clock? Rapid Response Policing and the Dynamics of Domestic Violence

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Abstrakt: Violence that occurs between intimate partners is seldom a one-time occurrence, and little is known about how law-enforcement activity affects the dynamics of intimate partner violence. We study how rapid response policing affects cycles of domestic violence.  Given that rapid response policing has been shown to increase the likelihood and severity of criminal sanctions, theory offers two opposing views. On the one hand, and in line with standard economic theories of crime (Becker, 1968; Ehrlich, 1973), rapid response policing might have a deterrence effect: by resulting in tougher sanctions for an initially committed act of domestic violence, it may prevent offenders from re-victimizing their partners in the future. On the other hand, it is also possible that rapid response policing causes a backlash effect: by increasing the likelihood of criminal sanctions, such as arrest, it may increase the risk of retaliatory violence by perpetrators, whereby the frequency of and severity of future IPV episodes increases (Pate and Hamilton, 1992; Iyengar, 2009). Using detailed administrative data on the universe of all crime incidents recorded by a major police force in Great Britain over 2010-2017 period, we provide causal evidence in favor of the backlash hypothesis.

Published Mar. 12, 2021 4:37 PM - Last modified Mar. 22, 2021 9:45 AM