2019/06: Bolstering community ties as a means of reducing crime
Recent evidence indicates that alternative policies based in the community reduce crime, especially in disadvantaged neighborhoods. In this paper we study the effects of bolstering community ties on local crime rates. To do so, we take advantage of the quasi-random deployment of a community health policy. The program Barcelona Salut als Barris (BSaB) aims to improve health outcomes and reduce inequalities in the most disadvantaged neighborhoods through community-based initiatives and empowerment of citizens. To test if BSaB reduces crime, we follow a staggered Difference-in-Differences approach. Data comes from administrative records of the Local Police and the City Hall. We find that BSaB significantly reduces intimate crimes but only in the short term. We also find an effect on drug crimes in the long term. Regarding offenders, a reduction for young individuals takes place. Evidence is suggestive that is due to tighter knit communities. These results provide evidence in favor of non-traditional crime preventive policies.