• U.S.

The Law: Squad-Car Skid

1 minute read

Do police patrolling in squad cars really cut the crime rate? Newly named FBI Director Clarence Kelley decided to test the long-accepted axiom last year when he was chief of police in Kansas City, Mo. Kelley selected three urban areas that had similar crime and population patterns. In one, all cruising squad car patrols were eliminated; the second was covered by five cars, just as it had been before the experiment; the third area was flooded with 15 cars. The year-long experiment, which ended in October, indicates that patrol cars have no significant effect on crime. In each of the three neighborhoods, the number of murders, rapes, assaults, robberies, burglaries, grand larcenies and auto thefts varied by less than 6% from the average total of 13,100. Indeed, the area with the fewest crimes — by a slight amount — was the neighborhood that had no regular patrol cars at all.

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