How Social Science Can Help

Our “How Social Science Can Help” panel demonstrated how we can start to assess the potential costs that policing can impose. The panel highlighted some of the work that the Policing Project and its social science partners are doing in Nashville to assess the efficacy of using traffic stops as a strategy to fight crime.

Nashville, like many departments, had for many years relied on a strategy of making large numbers of traffic stops in high-crime neighborhoods in order to reduce crime. But some in the community have expressed concern about the large numbers of stops—and about the costs they impose on residents and on the relationship between the community and the police. Panelists discussed some of the strategies that departments can use, in partnership with researchers, to assess the efficacy of existing strategies, and to start to think about how to measure the costs that their tactics impose.