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New Publication by CLJ Professor Dr. William McCarty, Zhe Meng, Marc Buslik, and Rafael Moreno Jr. Shows Unintended Consequences of Body-Worn Camera Implementation



This study sought to assess the effects of body-worn cameras (BWCs) on arrest in the Chicago Police Department (CPD). It builds on the small number of studies that have explored the BWC-arrest nexus through its focus on outcome measures disaggregated by initial arrest category to see if there is additional specificity to the relationship.


This study uses a quasi-experimental design and propensity score matching (PSM) to compare similar groups of spatial units — police patrol districts – in the CPD over a 30-month study period. It also uses multivariate methods to assess whether difference scores in various types of arrest changed significantly over time after the introduction of BWCs.


The results showed that in the BWC districts, arrests for misdemeanor marijuana possession increased as time increased (i.e. the difference scores became less negative). This tendency did not appear in a control group of districts. For all other categories of arrest, change occurred at similar rates in the BWC- and control-districts.


An upward trend over time in arrests for marijuana possession after the introduction of BWCs could be an unintended consequence that may undermine benefits a department and community may gain from reductions in use of force and complaints."

Read the full article at Science Direct