Per Capita Spending on U.S. Police Rose to $326 in 2017

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Police at NYC protest June 1. Photo by Andrea Cipriano/TCR

Americans paid a little more than $326 per person on average from state and local government funds on policing in 2017, a figure that increased from nearly $258 per person since 2000, says a U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics report issued on Monday.

Despite what appears to be a significant rise, the total as a percentage of overall  government spending has remained steady over those 17 years, at under four percent.

The data may prove instructive during the current debate about “de-funding” the police.

The report also looked at policing in the 25 largest U.S. cities, finding that inflation-adjusted per capita expenditures on police rose in 18 cities between 2000 and 2017, with Austin, Tx., showing the largest increase (up 77 percent) and San Diego showing the largest decrease (down 27 percent.)

Looking at the percent of city expenditures devoted to police, the report found that 15 of 25 big cities decreased the proportion going to police, with Jacksonville, Fl., showing the largest increase (up 82 percent) and Seattle the largest decrease (down 43 percent).

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