St. Paul Wonders Whether Adding Officers Will Cut Crime


The St. Paul police force is poised to reach a record high in October, bypassing the 600-officer mark. With the mayor’s budget calling for 13 to 25 more officers next year, will St. Paul’s relatively low crime rate will drop further?, asks the St. Paul Pioneer Press. National research on the effects of more cops on crime rates is mixed. The additional officers will be used in a mix of street patrols and investigative work, Police Chief John Harrington said. For next year, he plans to re-establish beat officers in neighborhoods throughout the city and add staff to the units that track sexual predators, handle domestic-violence crimes, and focus on problem properties.

Crime was down 14 percent in St. Paul in the first half of 2007 compared with the same time last year. Tthat doesn’t mean people feel safe, said Dave Titus, St. Paul Police Federation president. Some studies have found that having more cops leads to less crime, while others haven’t proved a correlation, said John Eck, a University of Cincinnati criminologist who has written about police staffing and strategies. “There are good reasons for adding cops – reducing their workload might be one – but the research isn’t going to help the citizens of St. Paul make a decision,” he said.


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