The Impact of Crack Enforcement on Police Budgets

Document Type


Publication Date

Summer 1998


During the 1980s, many urban areas in the United States experienced a widespread expansion in the use of drugs in general and crack cocaine in particular. This expansion of crack use is thought to have resulted in various behavioral changes, e.g., an increase in crime and an increase in expenditures to reduce drug use. This paper examines how local police spending responded to the spread of crack cocaine. We use a pooled cross-section, time series data set consisting of 18 cities over the period 1982 through 1989 to estimate the impact of crack cocaine use on police spending, and find that police expenditures increased significantly as crack cocaine use rose.

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