A new study on the effect of police on crime suggests that Baltimore is one of the nation’s most under-policed cities, reports the Baltimore Sun. In a study previously reported in Crime & Justice News, researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, looked at data comparing crime, police staffing, the cost per officer and other factors, and found that generally, every dollar spent on policing is associated with $1.60 in reduced victimization costs. In Baltimore, due to high levels of crime and relatively low costs to hire police, the benefits for every dollar spent are $3.40.
“Our estimates suggest that if you increase police officers by 10 percent, you can get something like a 5 percent reduction in cost of crime,” said Justin McCrary, who co-authored the study with Aaron Chalfin. “For cities with a high level of crime, where police are relatively inexpensive, that’s a tradeoff a city should be willing to make.” Their rankings put Baltimore as the 17th most under-policed city out of 242 cities studied. The top five most under-policed cities were listed as Gary, In., New Orleans, Flint, Mi., Saginaw, Mi., and Youngstown, Oh. The most over-policed cities were Sunnyvale, Ca., Waltham, Ma., Torrance, Ca., Palo Alto, Ca., and Bayonne, N.J.