Public Safety

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RAND work on public safety issues ranges from policing and prisons to violent crime and the illegal drug trade, as well as homeland security and emergency preparedness. RAND research helps inform policy debates that are often riddled with arguments driven not by evidence but by emotion and ideology.

  • A car crash in an urban area, photo by kadmy/Getty Images

    Report

    Autonomous Vehicles and the Future of Auto Insurance

    Dec 17, 2020

    The existing automobile insurance system in the United States should be flexible enough to accommodate the introduction of autonomous vehicles. Some changes to the insurance model may be indicated as vehicles incorporate higher levels of automation, but it is too early to make radical changes.

  • RAND Gun Policy in America logo

    Project

    Informing the Gun Policy Debate

    Mar 2, 2018

    RAND's Gun Policy in America initiative provides information on what scientific research can tell us about the effects of gun laws. Our goal is to establish a shared set of facts that will improve public discussions and support the development of fair and effective gun policies.

Explore Public Safety

  • Multimedia

    Certification, Background Checks, and Stigma

    In this Events @ RAND podcast based on the Career Prospects for People with Criminal Records Symposium held at RAND in 2019, Peter Leasure, Michael Vuolo, and Naomi F. Sugie present evidence from employer and job-seeker studies on Ban-the-Box, Certificates of Relief, and background checks.

    Jul 15, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Research in Brief: Comprehensive Suicide Prevention in Law Enforcement

    Any institution-from workplaces to schools to correctional settings to law enforcement agencies-seeking to prevent suicide must take a comprehensive approach. Science suggests that there are five components that define what such an approach looks like.

    Jul 14, 2020

  • Detroit police line up next to an armored vehicle following a rally against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in Detroit, Michigan, June 1, 2020, photo by Rebecca Cook/Reuters

    Commentary

    How to Reform Military Gear Transfers to Police

    Police officers equipped like soldiers have appeared on the streets of American cities amid recent protests over George Floyd's killing. How should lawmakers reform a program that makes use of excess equipment and is popular with police departments, but that also raises substantial concerns about the militarization of policing?

    Jul 13, 2020

  • Periodical

    Periodical

    RAND Review: July-August 2020

    Feature stories explore what research says about learning loss after extended school breaks; how stress and trauma affect individual and community health; and how a critical care surge response tool is helping hospitals during the pandemic.

    Jul 13, 2020

  • Blog

    Online Shopping, Living in a Riskier World, Stress in Communities: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on Americans' online shopping habits during the pandemic, living in a riskier world, how stress builds in communities, and more.

    Jul 10, 2020

  • Silhouettes of police and other people, photo by wildpixel/Getty Images

    Commentary

    How to Transform Policing

    The killing of George Floyd and other abuses of power have brought about growing calls to alter how we conduct public safety and, more broadly, criminal justice in America. Evidence shows there is substantial room for improvement.

    Jul 9, 2020

  • Episode 1 of Career Prospects for People with Criminal Records

    Multimedia

    How Do People Stop Committing Crimes?

    In this Events @ RAND podcast based on the Career Prospects for People with Criminal Records Symposium held at RAND in 2019, senior policy researcher Shawn D. Bushway explains the concept of desistance, or how and when people with criminal records stop offending.

    Jul 8, 2020

  • A divided community where one side is getting flooded, illustration by Meriel Waissman

    Essay

    Stress Accumulates in Marginalized Communities, Generation After Generation

    Psychologists and biologists have known for years that prolonged stress is toxic to the human body. A better understanding of how stress builds in communities—and the burden it puts on them—can lead to more effective policies to address it.

    Jul 8, 2020

  • Open laptop in front of a stack of books, photo by Nutthaseth Vanchaichana/Getty Images

    Journal Article

    The State of the Science in Opioid Policy Research

    The rigor of study design varies notably across policy categories, highlighting the need for broader adoption of rigorous methods in opioid policy research.

    Jul 7, 2020

  • Crab fisherman Mike Taylor Jr. shows his catch of blue crabs in Pointe a la Hache near New Orleans, US, 6 April 2015. 20 April 2015 marks the 5th anniversary of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico which took place on 20 April 2010. Photo by Johannes Schmitt-Tegge/dpa/Alamy Live New

    Report

    Building Community Resilience to Large Oil Spills

    How can communities build resilience to large oil spills? This report examines the effects of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill and how communities' resilience to similar threats could be improved.

    Jul 6, 2020

  • Counterterrorism police stand guard at the annual Gay Pride Parade in Greenwich Village, June 25, 2017, photo by PeskyMonkey/Getty Images

    Commentary

    The Growing Irrelevance of Organizational Structure for U.S. Domestic Terrorism

    For decades, America's primary terrorist threat came from groups based abroad. Today, a new crop of terrorist actors is emerging from within our own borders. Although diverse and for the most part unconnected to each other, they share a common objective of disrupting society and in the process, overturning existing norms if not the entire political, social, and economic order.

    Jul 2, 2020

  • Blog

    Preparing for a COVID Surge, Reducing Police Violence, Media Literacy in Schools: RAND Weekly Recap

    This weekly recap focuses on helping hospitals prepare for a surge in COVID-19 infections, an approach to reducing police violence, teachers' concerns about students' media literacy, and more.

    Jul 2, 2020

  • A woman peeks through a blind in a window, photo by lathuric/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Preventing Homelessness Among Survivors of Domestic Abuse

    Without assistance, domestic violence survivors are more likely to be forced into homelessness. Now could be the time to invest in programs that help victims—before a second wave of COVID-19 cases pushes more families into unsafe environments.

    Jul 2, 2020

  • Journal Article

    Journal Article

    Researching Violence Against Health Care: Gaps and Priorities

    Researchers investigated the current status of research on violence against healthcare, identifying research gaps and conducting an initial prioritisation of future research.

    Jul 2, 2020

  • Ambulances line up outside a New York City hospital emergency room waiting for the next spike in calls, May 4, 2020, photo by Bob London/Alamy

    Essay

    COVID Could Surge Anywhere. This Tool Helps Hospitals Prepare

    The number of new coronavirus cases is growing in most states. As the pandemic continues to strain U.S. health care systems, a tool developed by RAND researchers can help hospitals prepare for the worst.

    Jul 1, 2020

  • Police officers stand guard across Central Park West during a protest against the death in Minneapolis police custody of George Floyd, in New York City, June 5, 2020, photo by Mike Segar/Reuters

    Commentary

    From Warrior to Guardian: A Systems Approach to Reduce Police Violence

    Personal accountability will always have a role in policing. But the kind of cultural change that is necessary to prevent tragedy is often best tackled by focusing on the system rather than merely blaming the individual officer.

    Jul 1, 2020

  • A long line of police squad cars, photo by thall/Getty Images

    Commentary

    Funding—or Defunding—the Police

    With calls to reduce spending on police, a question becomes by how much? RAND researchers studied the average amount taxpayers spend for police to respond to a reported crime. These estimates are available in a new tool that makes it easy to visualize police costs per crime by state.

    Jul 1, 2020

  • Tool

    Tool

    Costs of Responding to Crime: Police, Court, and Legal Services

    How much taxpayer money is spent on police, courts, and legal services to respond to crime? RAND researchers provide estimated costs by crime type and by state in a new tool that makes it easy to visualize and download the data.

    Jul 1, 2020

  • A woman holds a placard as people protest outside Los Angeles Unified School District headquarters to demand that the Board of Education defunds school police in Los Angeles, California, June 23, 2020, photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    Commentary

    Defund the LAPD? Garcetti Budget Proposal Takes a Step in That Direction

    Calls to “defund the police” have grown common and urgent in the wake of police killings of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and numerous other Black Americans. Research and community activists agree: Public safety can be improved by investing more public dollars in a social safety net, and less in policing and incarceration, in Los Angeles.

    Jun 30, 2020

  • Close up of a nurse using a stethoscope to conduct a prenatal check on a pregnant woman, photo by SDI Productions/Getty Images

    Journal Article

    Medications for Opioid Use Disorder Among Pregnant Women Referred by Criminal Justice Agencies Before and After Medicaid Expansion: A Retrospective Study of Admissions to Treatment Centers in the United States

    Pregnant women with OUD referred by criminal justice agencies between 1992 and 2017 were consistently less likely to receive evidence-based treatment than women referred through other sources.

    Jun 30, 2020