Does Wearing Body Cameras Reduce Police Use of Force?

May 16, 2019

Police departments in this country have been adopting body-worn cameras in hopes of improving civilian–police interactions. A new study by Alex Coppock and co-authors David Yokum and Anita Ravishankar look at the effects of police wearing body-worn cameras. The paper “A Randomized Controlled Trial Evaluating the Effects of Police Body-Worn Cameras” published in PNAS, uses a large-scale field experiment that randomly assigned cameras to officers and tracked their behavior for at least seven months. The study concludes that cameras did not meaningfully affect police behavior on a range of outcomes, including complaints and use of force, and that the effects of cameras are likely smaller than many have hoped.

Area of study 
Criminal Justice