JUL 18 2009

Policing Costs in the U.S. and California

Miscellaneous


Based on U.S. DOJ crime statistics, U.S. Census state and local government finance statistics, and CPI-U statistics, U.S. policing costs per crime are rising 4.1 % faster than consumer inflation annually, and California policing costs per crime are rising 4.9 % annually in excess of consumer inflation.

Based on the work of Anderson, D. A. [1999, The aggregate burden of crime. J. Law Econ. 42: 611-637] and Bartley, W. A. [2000, Valuation of specific crime rates. National Criminal Justice Reference Service: Vanderbilt University School of Economics] and Uniform Crime Data, I calculate that each crime’s tangible cost to American society is about $10,750. Each violent crime‘s cost to society is approximately $39,700. Currently, U.S. policing costs are about $7400 per crime or $60,600 per violent crime. In California, these respective costs are about $10,960 and $78,600. In California, diminishing marginal utility of policing exists; perhaps, this is a reflection of societal risk aversion. It is apparent, however, that these costs can rationally be reduced.

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