Published In

Journal of Urban Economics

Document Type


Publication Date



Crime and society, Riots, Poverty -- Government policy -- United States, Property -- Valuation, Lawyers


This paper uses the city level roll-out of legal service grants to evaluate their effects on crime. Using Uniform Crime Reports from 1960 to 1985, the results show that there is a short run increase of 7 percent in crimes reported and also a 13 percent increase in crimes cleared by arrest. Results show an increase in the staffing of police officers in cities that received legal services. These cities are also associated with having higher median property values 10 years later. This supports the narrative that legal services changed police behavior through litigation or threats of litigation.


This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Journal of Urban Economics. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version can be found here:



Persistent Identifier