RAND Study: Additional Officers & Preventing Crime Outweigh Personnel Costs

The RAND Corporation produced a study evaluating the cost of crime and investing in public safety.  The analysis showed the benefits of having additional officers and preventing crime outweigh the personnel costs. “Many cities face financial difficulties and have to make tough choices about how to spend taxpayers’ money,” said Paul Heaton, author of the study and an associate economist with RAND, a nonprofit research organization. “Investing in police makes sense if police can improve the quality of life for ordinary citizens.” Crime costs are directly borne by victims, insurers, and government, but Heaton notes that it also is important to consider the costs borne by society in general. Additionally, Heaton suggests policymakers should consider both the tangible costs, such as a victim’s medical bills or lost productivity, as well as the intangible costs, such as a reduced quality of life in a crime-ridden neighborhood.


Los Angeles Police Protective League (LAPPL) and Chief Beck both support the findings of the study.  LAPPL’s president Paul Webster keenly points out that the report shows, “the importance of putting public safety first when setting budget priorities and making personnel decisions at a pivotal time in our city’s history.”

One goal of the MPA is to get our department to national staffing levels.  MPD is about 400 officers short of the national average, with no hope in the future to hire more officers soon. Helping assist the city of Mesa to get more officers continues to be of precedence.  It is clear Mesa officers are doing more with less resources, officers and no overtime.  Our department cannot handle further cuts.  MPA is working on reports to help educate our management and council and align their decision making with community’s priority of public safety.