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The Conference

Everyone wants to be safe. The question is how best to keep the public safe, while minimizing the harms that policing itself can impose. The Policing Project at New York University School of Law will host a day-long convening on Friday, September 21 to discuss the potential transformative power that cost-benefit analysis could have on policing—and how people and communities experience policing practices.

Cost Benefit Analysis

Cost-benefit analysis (CBA) is used widely throughout government and private industry, leading to advances in environmental protection, public health, and many other fields. And yet cost-benefit analysis has rarely been applied to policing. Indeed, to the extent policing has run into trouble and controversy it is largely because of a failure to anticipate the social costs of policing practices such as stop-and-frisk or the use of surveillance technologies, like drones or facial recognition.

Who's Attending

The Policing Project, thanks to the support of the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, is bringing together thought leaders and practitioners who represent a wide range of stakeholders in this space: police officials, civil rights and advocacy leaders, social scientists, state and local government representatives, and policing technology makers.


The morning will feature a series of public discussions on the policing problems CBA can address, and begin a conversation about how CBA could be put into practice around policing. In the afternoon a smaller group will retire behind closed doors to grapple with some of the challenges to making CBA a regular part of policing.