Do U.S. municipal police departments respond to news coverage of local crime? We address this question exploiting an exogenous shock to local crime reporting induced by acquisitions of local TV stations by a large broadcast group, Sinclair. Using a unique dataset of 8.5 million news stories and a triple differences design, we document that Sinclair acquisitions decrease news coverage of local crime. This matters for policing: municipalities that experience the change in news coverage have lower violent crime clearance rates relative to municipalities that do not. The result is consistent with a decrease of crime salience in the public opinion.
LocationRoom M04 (Amigos)
SpeakerNicola Mastrorocco (Trinity College)
Who Watches the Watchmen? Local News and Police Behavior in the United States