About The Project
Police body-worn camera (BWC) programs are rapidly spreading across the United States. In 2015, the U.S. Department of Justice awarded over $23 million in funding to support the implementation of BWC programs throughout the country,1 and a nationwide survey found that 95% of police departments either have already or intend to implement a BWC program.2
BWCs may provide a number of benefits. One is that both officers and civilians on the street may behave differently if under the lens of a camera. It might encourage officer adherence to departmental protocols and influence everyone at the scene, civilians included, to act more peacefully. A second is that the video footage may provide evidentiary value—documentation that helps resolve complaints and court cases.
But what are, in fact, the impacts of body-worn cameras in the District? We designed a rigorous field experiment to begin answering this question.