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Evidence that curtailing proactive policing can reduce major crime

By Zachary P. O’Keeffe, Christopher M. Sullivan & Campaign Zero

Study: Inconsistency in aggressive low-level policing across community groups undermines police legitimacy, which erodes cooperation with law enforcement. The cumulative effect increases ‘legal cynicism’—individual reliance on extra-legal sanctions and informal institutions of violence as a replacement for police. Reflecting these mechanisms, we propose that sharply reducing proactive policing in areas where it had been deployed pervasively may actually improve compliance with legal authority, thereby reducing major crimes.

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