police spending – Gradually shrinking law enforcement budgets are making it difficult for local officials to keep crime under control with less resources. Federal and state government makes some contributions to police budgets in most precincts, but the cities themselves must pay the lion’s share of the costs for public safety. Given the recent rash of police-misconduct cases, law enforcement budgets are even further stretched and local police forces must start looking at creative approaches to get the job done with less man power.
Related to this, financial research firm WalletHub put together a study to assess how efficiently the 104 biggest U.S. cities spend public funds on law enforcement. The methodology of WalletHub’s 2016 Cities with the Best and Worst Cities for Police Spending ROI list involved determining each city’s ROI on law-enforcement spending by comparing crime rates and per-capita expenditures on police forces.
The final “Adjusted ROI Rank” is a revised figure controlling for poverty rate, unemployment rate and median household income, whereas “Unadjusted ROI Rank” is the results before normalizing the data with these economic factors.
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U.S. cities with the highest ROI for police spending
The state of Ohio apparently has some some very smart and highly efficient local law enforcement officials, as three Ohio cities made the top ten list, including the two top positions.
Akron, Ohio was ranked in first placed on WalletHub’s 2016 Best Cities for Police Spending ROI list. Akron was ranked 69th in crime rate (5.94%), but spent the 7th lowest amount per capita ($224) on law enforcement (with an overall unadjusted ranking of 10th). Dayton, Ohio came in second on the list, ranked 90th in crime rate (6.87%), but spent the 66th lowest amount per capita ($389) on law enforcement (unadjusted ranking of 68th). Springfield, Mass ended up in third overall, with a crime rate ranking of 59th (5.59%) and a per capita spending rate of 15th ($249) (unadjusted ranking of 15th). Syracuse, New York was ranked fourth, with a crime rate rank of 47th (5.04%) and but spent the 65th lowest amount per person on police and related activities (unadjusted ranking of 66th). Somewhat surprisingly, Detroit, Michigan rounded out the top five on WalletHub’s best cities for police spending ROI list. Detroit was ranked 92nd in crime rate (7.92%) and spent the 11th highest amount on law enforcement per capita ($549), but the Motor City’s 93rd place unadjusted ranking moved all the way up to 5th when you consider the overall poor economic condition of the city.
U.S. cities with the lowest ROI for police spending
Some U.S. cities spend a lot of money on law enforcement and still have relatively high crime rates. Anchorage, Alaska, for example, is ranked No. 100 on WalletHub’s policed spending ROI list. Anchorage has a crime rate rank of 31st (4.35%), and spent the 29th highest amount per capita ($419) on law enforcement (unadjusted ranking of 72nd). Huntington Beach, CA came in 101 place on the list, with a crime rate rank of 9th (2.97%), and the 77th lowest amount ($440) on police (unadjusted ranking of 77th). Fort Lauderdale, Florida showed up in 102nd place, with a crime rater ranking of 86th (6.73%), and the second highest amount of all 104 cities per capita (unadjusted ranking of 102). Fremont, California offers its citizens the second-worst ROI on police spending, with a crime rate ranking of 2nd (2.07%), and spent the 59th lowest amount ($374) on police per capita (unadjusted ranking of 56th).
Although there are special circumstances, the nation’s capital has by far the worst ROI on police spending, with a crime rate ranking of 66th (5.81%), and the highest per capita spending on law enforcement ($910) of any city in the country (unadjusted ranking of 104th).