Faced With Cop Shortage, Some Cities Do More With Fewer


Nashville in 2001 was plagued by dropping arrest numbers, rising crime, and a perception that overworked police officers were no longer able to do their jobs, says the Denver Post. Rather than dipping into the budget for more cops, Nashville changed the way it used the officers it already had, and the results have been dramatic. Arrests are up in nearly every category, some by as much as 142 percent. Crime is down, and the Tennessee capital is paying for fewer officers than it had seven years ago.

If Denver were to attempt the same with the identical ratio, the police department would have nearly 300 fewer cops than it does now. While the Denver City Council agreed Nov. 8 to hire 19 more officers, other cities of similar size are bearing the pressure of having to do more with less. The percentage decline in Denver police arrests since 1998 is greater than in cities such as Portland, Or., and Phoenix, where arrests are also declining. Yet those towns have fewer officers per resident than Denver and rank just as high in the number of reported crimes. As in Denver, officers in Phoenix say their manpower – about two officers per 1,000 residents, while Denver has from 2.35 to 2.5 officers per 1,000 residents, doesn’t match the need. Although the crime rate was relatively the same in 2004 as in 1998, the police force can’t keep up, Phoenix spokesman Sgt. Lauri Williams said.

Link: http://www.denverpost.com/news/ci_3257732

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