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Reducing crime through environmental design : evidence from a randomized experiment of street lighting in New York City

Author: Aaron Chalfin; Benjamin Hansen; Jason Lerner; Lucie Parker; National Bureau of Economic Research,
Publisher: Cambridge, Mass. : National Bureau of Economic Research, 2019.
Series: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 25798.
Edition/Format:   eBook : Document : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
This paper offers experimental evidence that crime can be successfully reduced by changing the situational environment that potential victims and offenders face. We focus on a ubiquitous but surprisingly understudied feature of the urban landscape -- street lighting -- and report the first experimental evidence on the effect of street lighting on crime. Through a unique public partnership in New York City, temporary  Read more...
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Material Type: Document, Internet resource
Document Type: Internet Resource, Computer File
All Authors / Contributors: Aaron Chalfin; Benjamin Hansen; Jason Lerner; Lucie Parker; National Bureau of Economic Research,
OCLC Number: 1100420487
Notes: "May 2019"
Description: 1 online resource (29 pages, 14 unnumbered pages) : illustrations.
Series Title: Working paper series (National Bureau of Economic Research), no. 25798.
Responsibility: Aaron Chalfin, Benjamin Hansen, Jason Lerner, Lucie Parker.

Abstract:

This paper offers experimental evidence that crime can be successfully reduced by changing the situational environment that potential victims and offenders face. We focus on a ubiquitous but surprisingly understudied feature of the urban landscape -- street lighting -- and report the first experimental evidence on the effect of street lighting on crime. Through a unique public partnership in New York City, temporary streetlights were randomly allocated to public housing developments from March through August 2016. We find evidence that communities that were assigned more lighting experienced sizable reductions in crime. After accounting for potential spatial spillovers, we find that the provision of street lights led, at a minimum, to a 36 percent reduction in nighttime outdoor index crimes.

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