20 U.S. Cities that Receive the Most Homeland Security Funding for Being “High Threat”

Thursday, April 25, 2013
Boston, April 15, 2013 (AP Photo)

You would think that when the U.S. government determines how much money should be spent to protect various cities and metropolitan areas, it would take into account not just the size of the city, but also its history as a target. The attacks of September 11, 2001, were centered on New York City and Washington DC, and the terrorists boarded flights two flights from Boston, one from Washington and one from Newark. Three of the flights were headed to Los Angeles and one to San Francisco.


Sure enough, when one consults the amounts awarded by the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)’s Urban Areas Security Initiative grants program (UASI) to large urban areas deemed “high threat,” five of these six cities are among the top six recipients: New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, San Francisco and Newark. But Boston, which was struck by another terrorist attack on April 15, is only in tenth place…behind Houston, Dallas and Philadelphia.


Here is the list of the 20 cities receiving the largest urban security grants:


  1. New York City ($1.4 billion)
  2. Los Angeles/Long Beach ($644 million)
  3. DC Metro ($568 million)
  4. Chicago ($478 million)
  5. San Francisco Bay Area ($359 million)
  6. Jersey City/Newark ($300 million)
  7. Houston ($297 million)
  8. Philadelphia ($197 million)
  9. Dallas/Fort Worth/Arlington ($186 million)
  10. Boston ($173 million)
  11. San Diego ($134 million)
  12. Detroit ($133 million)
  13. Miami ($125 million)
  14. Anaheim/Santa Ana ($123 million)
  15. Seattle ($122 million)
  16. Atlanta ($114 million)
  17. Baltimore ($105 million)
  18. Phoenix ($94 million)
  19. St. Louis ($81 million)
  20. Denver ($74 million)


There are currently 31 high-threat, high-density urban areas that are eligible for funding. Allocation of the awards is based on DHS’s “risk methodology,” which involves analyzing “the relative risk of terrorism faced by the 100 most populous metropolitan statistical areas in the United States.”


UASI is one of five projects in DHS’s Homeland Security Grant Program. That umbrella program spent nearly $1.8 billion in FY 2010. The total funding of UASI in FY 2012 was $490.4 million, which was distributed through 22 grants.

-David Wallechinsky, Danny Biederman


To Learn More:

Boston 10th in Funds Received for 'High Threat' Urban Areas (by Travis Daub, PBS News Hour)

UASI Blog (All Hands Consulting)

Oklahoma Senator Fails to See Value of California Zombie Apocalypse Training (by Ken Broder and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

National Security Used as Excuse for Wasteful Federal Spending on Local Law Enforcement (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)      


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