Police Costs More And More, Even As Crime Falls

Cops walking with coffee away from a crowd
Via Flickr
William Anderson
July 28, 2020

Police budgets have been going up and up for decades. From the 1970s to 2017, police spending nearly TRIPLED from $42.3 billion to $114.5 billion! When you look at what’s happening with crime rates, a complicated question arises about this huge expense.

Crime rates have been decreasing for decades, and while many believe it’s because police spending has increased, that’s not true. Reviews of state and local spending on police have found NO correlation between this huge expense and falling crime rates. 

And overspending on police hurts us in other ways.

Police spending is gigantic compared to agencies like the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). 

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you may wonder why police get nearly $115 billion, while the CDC budget is only $11 billion! This problem has an important solution.

Calls to defund the police are meant to address the problems these huge budgets create. Police budgets take from the most important services we need, while not even solving crimes. It’s clear how to make things better.

Instead of responding to the problems our communities face with police repression, we can prevent problems with housing, education, healthcare, and infrastructure that police budgets steal. Providing our communities with resources, not over-policing them, will help make them better!

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