The Relationship Between Crime Levels and Spatial Accessibility to Police Services: The Case of Paraguay

28 October 2022, Version 1
This content is an early or alternative research output and has not been peer-reviewed at the time of posting.


The impact of spatial accessibility to police services on crime levels is not straightforward. Previous research shows diverging outcomes of police presence over crime. One major reason for this is reporting bias, when higher accessibility creates incentives for higher crime reporting. Unlike other types of crimes, murder is assumed to be immune to reporting bias due to the severity of the offense: virtually all murders are reported. A set of OLS regressions of crimes on the spatial accessibility index with controls shows that an increase of a 1-index point in spatial accessibility (roughly a decrease of 2km in the average minimum distance to the nearest police station and an increase of 1 additional police station within a 5km radius) is associated with a 32 percent decrease in homicides. Overall, greater spatial accessibility to police stations deters murders significantly, and at the same time creates incentives for higher crime reporting.


spatial accessibility
justice services
police stations
reporting bias
access to justice


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