Undercover police stings aren’t effective at combating crime rates and create criminals out of people who possibly wouldn’t otherwise commit crimes, according to a new article by a UC Irvine law professor.
In “The Dangers of Police-Created Crime,” Katie Tinto describes how undercover policing has evolved from focusing on larger crimes to low-level offenses, which tends to “ensnare” vulnerable people.
“Is this effective and cost efficient policing?” Tinto said in a phone interview. “We suggest the answer is no, that we are actually creating criminals. It’s not at all clear that these individuals would commit these crimes were it not for undercover police officers presenting the opportunity.”
Tinto said that rather than targeting high-level drug kingpins, officers are more likely to run a sting operation on vulnerable individuals like a homeless drug addict on Skid Row.
Undercover policing was born of the idea that some criminals are very hard to