Using geocoded arrest data from the Los Angeles Police Department, we assessed changes in racial disparities in the context of policy reforms that de-emphasized low-level offenses. Our findings indicated substantial declines in order maintenance arrest rates in Los Angeles from 2010-2019, particularly after the passage of Prop 47. The steepest declines occurred among the Black population, narrowing the Black-White gap in arrest rates.
We then explore calls to local police as a response to shifting neighborhood demographics. In line with racial threat theory, we find that nuisance calls increase as a function of changes in the proportion white population.
Finally, we look at how racial patterns of drug arrests following recent policy reforms varied across geography. We find that disproportionate arrests of racial minorities declined city-wide. However, almost no change occurred in tracts in the whitest neighborhoods, where disproportion among blacks was the highest.