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JSPES, Vol. 47, No. 3-4 (Fall-Winter 2022)
pp. 195-210

Is Police Force Size Related to Crime Rates?

Nik Ahmad Sufian Burhan
Muhammad Dhamir Audi Azizul
Mohamad Fazli Sabri
Wan Munira Wan Jaafar Hanina H. Hamsan
Universiti Putra Malaysia

Najwa Baharuddin
Universiti Malaysia Terengganu

Police chiefs, policymakers, and concerned citizens generally assume that increasing the number of police will reduce criminal activity. The current study examined the relationship between police force size and crime rates from 2003 to 2016 at the crossnational level. First, ordinary least squares were employed and weighted by population size to examine the impact of police force size on crime rates based on eight categories: serious assault, burglary, car theft, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, sexual violence, and general theft. The regression results of controlling the effects of other criminal indicators suggested that increasing police force size did not significantly reduce crime rates. Second, robust regression applied using Tukey’s Bisquare-weight function revealed positive relationships between police force size and the crimes for car theft, homicide, kidnapping, robbery, and sexual violence after mitigating the biasing effects of outliers. Hence, the current study highlighted a non-homogeneity possibility in the crime rate data quality worldwide. The results imply that reduction in crime rates requires intervention strategies apart from increase in police force size, results that need addressing by future researchers and policymakers.