If Violent Crime Rate is at 40-Year Low, Why is U.S. Spending S100 Billion a Year on Police?

Friday, May 25, 2012
From the amount of money spent each year in the United States on law enforcement, one might assume crime continues to be a growing problem.
But that’s not the case at all.
Crime rates today are at their lowest levels in 30 years and the rate of violent crime has dipped to a 39-year low. Yet the number of arrests between 2009 and 2010 declined only slightly, according to the Justice Policy Institute (JPI), which noted in its new report that police spending increased 445% between 1982 and 2007 and federal funding for police burgeoned by 729%.
Meanwhile, local, state and federal governments spend more than $100 billion each year on public safety and to maintain police ranks that exceed 710,000 nationwide.
Between 1993 and 2007 arrests for violent crimes dropped 27% and property crime arrests 22%. With fewer violent and property crimes being committed, the burgeoning ranks of police departments have concentrated on other offenses, particularly those related to the illegal drug trade. During the same period, drug-related arrests climbed 45%. The report notes that “Although Blacks make up 13 percent of the population, they make up 31 percent of arrests for drug offenses.”
“These arrests, often for possession of very small amounts of drugs, carry tremendous costs both to society and to the people involved, who must then face the rest of their life with the collateral consequences of a criminal record,” the JPI wrote.
The think tank suggested politicians redirect funding more toward “true community-based and collaborative policing efforts” as well as alternative programs and initiatives that “promote healthy safe communities.”
It suggested that law enforcement concentrate on serious offenses and, for low-level offenses, issue citations rather than pursue arrests.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
Rethinking the Blues (Justice Policy Institute) (pdf)

State-by-State and National Crime Estimates by Year(s) (Uniform Crime Reporting Statistics) 


Cl;opud Hobbit 10 years ago
Maybe the increase in spending has to do with the cost of weapons and tactics used by police. Bean bag guns, Tasers, bomb sniffers, and so on. There is no doubt in my mind that the war on drugs is really a war on drug users, since there obviously is no success in the interdiction effort or there wouldn't be so may people using to arrest. The national mindset is changing with regard to pot, for sure. 2 states no have legalized recreational use, something unthinkable 30 years ago. We need to stop going after these people and concentrate on better ways to patrol the streets for violent crimes and stop worrying about people who are hurting no one but themselves. I believe that a big reason that crime is down is because of mandatory prison sentences and 3 strikes laws, that keep people off the streets. Another major problem that needs to be addressed is the problem with our southern border and its porous nature where gang members and other criminals can be deported and then just lip right back, or criminals can hide out until such time as it is safe to come back. More has to be done at the Federal level to encourage Mexico to use the vast resources it has at hand to make its own economy strong enough to keep people at home and not want to sneak into our country. Sorry if I went on a tangent.
2cents 11 years ago
new world order and its puppet prison industrial complex. 1. they want everyone into their system so they can track them later. 2. they want to take over the us but they're afraid of the 2nd amendment, guns! once in the system, ur not allowed to have a gun after. its about trying to reduce the number of guns out there. 3. its psychological programming, they're trying to train u for the coming control and removal of ur rights. what do u think prison is? 4. they're arming the local police w military gear so you'l get used to seeing the military walking your local streets when they take over, its a soft kill. 5. and of course, this all costs billions, so what, the fed (the private bankers) just prints more money then makes u pay it all back w interest. like they give a fk about costs, its their goil to enslave u w debt. just a word of warning nwo, never forget charlton heston's "from my cold dead hands!"
L 11 years ago
maybe it's because we are becoming increasingly paranoid and running out of money to support our drug habits? i would probably do the same thing.
Black Mamba 11 years ago
when crime goes down, they say, “see, money well spent! we need the extra money to keep the force strong and stop criminals and the low crime rates prove it works” when crime goes up, they say, “see, we need the extra money for a stronger police force in order to lower these crime rates” these 2 sentences go around and around in a loop until the budgets are exploding. the military does the exact same thing, but more globally. there’s no situation that they can see that justifies spending less money apparently, not even success.
Some User 11 years ago
a user's guide to smoking pot with barack obama http://www.buzzfeed.com/gavon/a-users-guide-to-smoking-pot-with-barack-obama

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