Law Enforcement


As one arm of the criminal justice system, law enforcement is responsible for maintaining social and public order. RAND research is relevant to many issues affecting law enforcement agencies in the United States, with a focus on public safety, quality policing and community policing, and the recruitment and retention of quality officers.

  • Pittsburgh Police stand with a group of Pitt students


    Helping Police Find Better Strategies to Fight Crime

    Dec 14, 2018

    Which policing strategies are the most effective? A new RAND toolkit aims to help law enforcement agencies identify the best approach for the situation, and the key steps to success.

  • Social network illustration superimposed over a city at night


    How Police Could Use Social Media and Social Network Analysis

    Jul 18, 2018

    Social media and social network analysis could help law enforcement monitor for safety threats, identify those at high risk for involvement in violence, and investigate crimes and crime networks. But computer security, privacy, and civil rights protections must be in place before using these tools.

Explore Law Enforcement

  • Testimony

    Assessing Drug Control Priorities in the Federal Budget

    In testimony presented before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, Subcommittee on Domestic Policy, Rosalie Liccardo Pacula speaks to the scientific evidence underlying drug policy initiatives in the FY2011 budget—including treatment, prevention, and enforcement strategies.

    Apr 9, 2010

  • News Release

    Research Demonstrates Quantifiable Benefits from Police Personnel Investments

    Existing high-quality research demonstrates that public investment in police can generate substantial social returns.

    Mar 16, 2010

  • Report

    What Cost-of-Crime Research Can Tell Us About Investing in Police

    Existing high-quality research on the costs of crime and the effectiveness of police—often buried in journals targeted to academics rather than policymakers—demonstrates that public investment in police can generate substantial social returns.

    Mar 5, 2010

  • Report

    What Police Departments Can Teach Us About IT, Organization, and Productivity in the Public Sector

    Police department data from 1987 to 2003 shows that while increases in information technology are not associated with increased productivity, IT investments can improve productivity when they are complemented with particular organizational and management practices.

    Jan 25, 2010

  • Journal Article

    Providing Body Armor to All U.S. Police Officers Is Worth the Cost

    The additional cost of providing body armor to all law enforcement officers in the United States is more than justified compared to the savings that would be created by fewer serious injuries and officer deaths.

    Jan 1, 2010

  • Report

    Lessons on Police Recruitment and Retention for the New Millennium

    Lessons on recruitment and retention can help police departments create a workforce that represents community demographics, is committed to providing its employees long-term police careers, and effectively implements community policing.

    Dec 31, 2009

  • Events @ RAND Audio Podcast


    L.A. Public Safety After Bratton

    Just days before the end of his tenure, Los Angeles Police Chief Bill Bratton joined Greg Ridgeway, director of the RAND Safety and Justice Program, in this dialogue about the effect of mounting constraints on city and state resources and the state of public safety in Los Angeles and California.

    Oct 28, 2009

  • Dallas skyline


    Measuring the Performance of the Dallas Police Department: 2008-2009 Results

    Describes the state of policing in Dallas, Texas, based on the results of four surveys carried out in 2008-2009.

    Oct 15, 2009

  • Report

    Cincinnati Police Department Traffic Stops: Analyzing Racial Disparities

    RAND has developed a fair, yet rigorous approach to analyzing traffic stop data for racial bias. Based on five years of data from the Cincinnati Police Department, the approach addresses bias in the decision to stop, flags officers with disparate stop patterns, and assesses bias in search and citation rates.

    Sep 25, 2009

  • Report

    Doubly Robust Internal Benchmarking and False Discovery Rates for Detecting Racial Bias in Police Stops

    Presents a statistical method to flag police officers who may potentially exhibit racial bias when making pedestrian stops.

    Aug 19, 2009

  • Commentary

    The Decline of Racial Profiling

    President Obama called the arrest of Professor Henry Gates a "teachable moment." This is a moment to learn the facts of race and policing these days. Racial profiling has indeed been an ugly reality for many years. But our research finds little evidence that it continues to be a major problem, write Greg Ridgeway and Nelson Lim.

    Jul 30, 2009

  • Report

    Police Recruitment and Retention in the Contemporary Urban Environment

    Recruitment and retention of urban police officers is a growing challenge in a time of increasing demand and decreasing resources. In June 2008, RAND convened a national summit at which speakers discussed police workforce issues, current strategies, best practices, and case studies of police agencies in selected cities.

    Jun 9, 2009

  • Commentary

    Assessing Mexico's Narco-Violence

    Drug-related violence in Mexico has more than doubled over the past 18 months, with a sharp increase in crimes that can only be understood as atrocities. The executions, assassinations, and decapitations may all seem wanton and senseless. But this violence actually has a purpose, write Benjamin Bahney and Agnes Gereben Schaefer.

    May 14, 2009

  • Commentary

    Opposing View: Keep Arms Off Ships

    Does the provision of private security contractors provide a viable solution to the growing problem of piracy off the Horn of Africa? Quite apart from the high cost — a robust security operation can run as much as $21,000 a day — employing security contractors poses problems on several fronts, writes Peter Chalk.

    May 4, 2009

  • Testimony

    Summary of the RAND Report on NYPD's Stop, Question, and Frisk

    In testimony presented before the New York City Council Committee on Public Safety and Committee on Civil Rights, Greg Ridgeway summarizes the analysis of data on the 500,000 pedestrian stops made by NYPD officers in 2006.

    Apr 29, 2009

  • Report

    U.S.-Mexico Strategic Partnership Needed to Help Mexico Improve Its Security Institutions

    The United States should forge a strategic partnership with Mexico that emphasizes reform and long-term institution building as a way to battle the ongoing drug war and other security challenges that face Mexico.

    Apr 20, 2009

  • Report

    Helping the Los Angeles Police Department Recruit Efficiently

    To help the Los Angeles Police Department achieve its recruiting and diversity goals, RAND researchers offered ways to improve productivity and efficiency in the recruiting process. They identified potential untapped recruiting markets, provided a model of viable candidates to target recruitment and prioritize applicants while still reaching diversity hiring goals, and recommended ways to improve background-investigation processes.

    Apr 9, 2009

  • Report

    Justification and Options for Creating A U.S. Stability Police Force

    Establishing security is the sine qua non of stability operations, since it is a prerequisite for reconstruction and development. Security requires a mix of military and police forces to deal with a range of threats from insurgents to criminal organizations. This research examines the creation of a high-end police force, which the authors call a Stability Police Force.

    Mar 25, 2009

  • Report

    Understanding Forfeitures: An Analysis of the Relationship Between Law Enforcement Funding and High Asset Forfeiture

    The Treasury Executive Office for Asset Forfeiture (TEOAF) administers the forfeitures that result from the prosecution of criminal enterprises - such as drug cartels, terrorist organizations, and individual embezzlers - can be used to fund future investigations. TEOAF commissioned RAND to examine such funding and forfeiture outcomes.

    Mar 18, 2009

  • Commentary

    Could Mexico Fail?

    The lawlessness along the Mexican border has gone way beyond a local crime wave: there has been a dramatic increase in armed robberies, not by lone gunmen but by heavily armed gangs. Kidnappings and homicides are way up—and not just murders but beheadings.... It is starting to look like a terrorist campaign, writes Brian Michael Jenkins.

    Feb 13, 2009