By Niall McCarthy, Forbes
Over the past three decades, U.S. cities have allocated larger and larger shares of their budgets towards law enforcement. Today, the U.S. collectively spends $100 billion a year on policing and a further $80 billion on incarceration. Even though crime levels have dropped substantially over the last 30 years in line with the spending uptake, a report released last month argues that this occurred in spite of higher police budgets. Compiled by The Center for Popular Democracy, Law for Black Lives and the Black Youth Project 100, the report makes the case that investment in mental health, housing, youth development and living wages would stabilize communities and prove more effective than policing.
The report also provides an overview of police budgets across several major American cities. Oakland allocated the highest share of its general fund to policing in 2017 at 41 percent and $242.5 million. Chicago was close behind with 39.6 percent ($1.46 billion) while Minneapolis set aside 35.8 percent ($163.2 billion). New York had the highest police budget in FY 2017 at $4.89 billion, though this only equates to 8.2 percent of the city’s general fund. Spending per person on policing comes to $772 in Baltimore, $581 in New York, $537 in Chicago and $381 in Los Angeles.
Categories: Police State/Civil Liberties