Crime in San Diego continued to drop during the first half of the year, but the next six months could be challenging as the state’s budget crisis threatens schools, social services, and mental health programs and puts a larger burden on an understaffed police force, reports the San Diego Union-Tribune. “As a lot of those resources are taken away, it puts more people on the street,” said Police Chief William Lansdowne. Crime in the city fell by 16.3 percent during the first half of the year when compared with the same period last year.
The police department is short 288 officers, and about 200 more are not available for duty due to injuries and other circumstances. That leaves about 1,684 officers available to patrol a city of about 1.2 million. San Diego was passed over for a portion of the $1 billion in federal stimulus funds for police hiring. It requested about $28.3 million to hire 120 new police officers and pay their salaries over the next three years.