Tuesday, July 22, 2008
More Money, Fewer Cops
The North County Times has an article (”Police budgets rise as street presence declines” July 22) this morning about a study finding that North County cities have fewer cops per 1,000 residents compared to the national average, DESPITE THE FACT THAT LAW ENFORCEMENT BUDGETS CONTINUE TO GROW.
The article states:
Throughout the region, law enforcement budgets increased by 20 percent over the past five years, including 6 percent between fiscal years 2006-07 and 2007-08, which ended this month.
The report said the increases are being driven by rising expenses for retirement and health insurance benefits, workers’ compensation and training.
Of course, this imbalance is a direct result of the lopsided benefits that the local police unions have been able to squeeze from compliant politicians.
It’s also why I’ve made the conscious decision not to seek an endorsement from the police union, in our case the Deputy Sheriffs’ Association.
Of course the police argue that the below average cop presence hasn’t hurt public safety and that crime is actually down across the region.
While that’s true, it’s most likely the result of demographics rather than policing (fewer young people + more old people = less crime).
Unfortunately, demographics can always change. What happens if crime starts inching upwards and we don’t have enough cops on the street because cities can’t afford the high benefits unions demand?