Abusive behavior by police is a salient concern around the world. One of the most prominent interventions designed to curb such behavior are police body-worn cameras (BWC) that record interactions between police and civilians. Even though BWC have been studied extensively in developed countries, evidence of the effectiveness of BWCs in the global South is sparse. One series of experimental and quasi-experimental studies in Uruguay and Turkey evaluates the effectiveness of BWC in the context of traffic stops. These studies suggest that BWC improved perceptions of legitimacy and satisfaction with the behavior of traffic police among drivers. BWC also seems to have increased the willingness to assist and comply with the directives of traffic police. Only one experimental study evaluates the effectiveness of BWC in a high violence Global South context — Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The study finds that BWC reduced police officers’ use of lethal force but also induced police inactivity, as officers attempted to avoid conflictual interactions with civilians that would be recorded. Moreover, the study also highlights that officers can be reluctant to turn on their cameras and that it can be challenging to incentivize officers to do so.
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“How body-worn cameras affect the use of gunshots, stop-and searches and other forms of police behavior: A Randomized Control Trial in Rio de Janeiro” by Beatriz Magaloni, Vanessa Melo, Gustavo Robles, and Gustavo Empinotti
“Using wearable technology to increase police legitimacy in Uruguay: the case of body-worn cameras” by Barak Ariel, Renée J. Mitchell, Justice Tankebe, Maria Emilia Firpo, Ricardo Fraiman, and Jordan M. Hyatt
“Body Worn Cameras, Procedural Justice, and Police Legitimacy: A Controlled Experimental Evaluation of Traffic Stops” by Mustafa Demir, Robert Apel, Anthony A. Braga, Rod K. Brunson, and Barak Ariel
“Effects of police body-worn cameras on citizen compliance and cooperation: Findings from a quasi-randomized controlled trial” by Mustafa Demir, Anthony A. Braga, and Robert Apel
“The effect of body-worn cameras on satisfaction and general perceptions of police: Findings from a quasi-randomized controlled trial” by Mustafa Demir, and Ahmet Kule
“De-escalation technology: the impact of body-worn cameras on citizen-police interactions” by Daniel AC Barbosa, Thiemo Fetzer, Caterina Soto, and Pedro CL Souza