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Daniel S. Nagin is Teresa and H. John Heinz III University Professor of Public Policy and Statistics at the Heinz College, Carnegie Mellon University. His research focuses on the evolution of criminal and antisocial behaviors over the life course, the deterrent effect of criminal and non-criminal penalties on illegal behaviors, and the development of statistical methods for analyzing longitudinal data. He is an elected Fellow of the American Society of Criminology, American Association for the Advancement of Science, and American Academy of Political and Social Science and the recipient of the American Society of Criminology's Edwin H Sutherland Award in 2006, the Stockholm Prize in Criminology in 2014, Carnegie Mellon University's Alumni Distinguished Achievement Award in 2016 and the National Academy of Science Award for Scientific Reviewing in 2017.
Abstract: Effective policing in a democratic society must balance the sometime conflicting objectives of public safety and community trust. This paper uses a formal model of optimal policing to explore how society might reasonably resolve the tension between public safety and community trust. We do so by considering the social benefits and costs of confrontational types of proactive policing such as stop, question, and frisk. Three features of the optimum that are particularly relevant to policy choices are explored: (1) the cost of enforcement against the innocent, (2) the baseline level of crime rate without confrontational enforcement, and (3) difference across demographic groups in the optimal rate of enforcement.