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Title Can trust be built through citizen monitoring of police activity?
Post date 04/11/2019
C1 Background and Explanation of Rationale New technologies can improve oversight, management of police and, through this process, enhance public confidence and gain citizens’ trust. In this project, we study the effects of two programs that make use of new technologies to improve the interaction between the police and citizens in the state of Santa Catarina, Brazil. More specifically, we evaluate the effects of: i) the Rede de Vizinhos (“Neighbor network”) community policing program, through which citizens exchange real-time information about crime and public safety through dedicated WhatsApp instant messages groups with the participation of a police officer; and ii) the introduction of police body-worn cameras on use of force and citizen’s complaints. (see Pre-Analysis Plan for more details)
C2 What are the hypotheses to be tested?

Primary Outcome Family 1: Security of Life and Property
1a. Negative effect on incidence of crime
1b. Positive effect on perceptions of safety (personal, land, and possessions)

Primary Outcome Family 2: Citizen Perceptions of the Police 2. Positive effect on citizen perceptions of police

Primary Outcome Family 3: Police Perceptions of and Behaviors Toward Citizens
3a. Positive effect on perceptions of police empathy, accountability, and abuse and corruption concerns
3b. Negative effect reporting of police abuse and bribery

Primary Outcome Family 4: Behavioral Cooperation of Citizens with the Police
4a. Positive effect on reporting of crime victimization
4b. Positive effect on reporting of crime prevention tips
4c. Positive effect on reporting of victimization by the police

Mechanism Family 1: Perceived Costs to Citizens Cooperating with the Police
M1a. Positive effect on beliefs about police intentions
M1b. Positive effect on knowledge of criminal justice system
M1c. Positive effect on norms of citizens cooperation with police

Mechanism Family 2: Perceived Returns to Citizens Cooperating with the Police
M2a. Positive effect on beliefs about police capacity
M2b. Positive effect on perceptions of responsiveness to citizen feedback

Secondary Outcome Family 1: Trust in the State
S1. Positive effect on trust in the state

Secondary Outcome Family 2: Communal Trust
S2. Positive effect on communal trust

Compliance with Treatment: Citizen Interactions with Police
C. Positive effect on rate of citizen interactions with police

C3 How will these hypotheses be tested? *

Rede de Vizinhos: we conduct an experiment, inducing take-up in RdV in randomly-selected neighborhoods across the state through a targeted information campaign through Facebook. The aim is to assess the effect of the program on crime, on the efficiency of police response and on the public perception of safety and police activity.

Body-worn cameras: we conduct a randomized implementation of body-worn cameras (BWC). To this end, we will work in collaboration with PMSC to randomly assign BWCs across police officers and implement randomly-selected shifts where it will be unavailable for all officers within police stations. (see Pre-Analysis Plan for more details)

C4 Country Brazil
C5 Scale (# of Units) Rede de Vizinhos: 125 neighborhoods across 15 municipalities, survey conducted in 3,300 households. CopCast: 445 police officers
C6 Was a power analysis conducted prior to data collection? Yes
C7 Has this research received Insitutional Review Board (IRB) or ethics committee approval? Yes
C8 IRB Number CI – VRAc 11/2018
C9 Date of IRB Approval April 18th 2018
C10 Will the intervention be implemented by the researcher or a third party? Polícia Militar de Santa Catarina, Igarapé Institute
C11 Did any of the research team receive remuneration from the implementing agency for taking part in this research? No
C12 If relevant, is there an advance agreement with the implementation group that all results can be published? Yes
C13 JEL Classification(s) H14, K42, k14