Report | Wages, Incomes, and Wealth

False Savings: How cutting police budgets and laying off cops in high-crime cities lacks economic, social, and common sense

Briefing Paper #314

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A recent series of provocative media reports suggest that increased crime rates in certain New Jersey cities are the direct result of police force reductions. An Associated Press bulletin on the website of Philadelphia’s Fox TV affiliate (“Crime up in Camden Since Police Layoffs” March 3, 2011) reported that aggravated assaults in Camden, N.J. so far in 2011 had more than tripled compared with the same time period the previous year, while shootings had nearly doubled. “New Jersey’s most crime-ridden city has been even worse since nearly half the police force was laid off in January,” the article said.

A later AP report in The Record (“N.J. crime increases raise issue of police layoffs,” May 15, 2011) said that the 65 percent increase in murders in Newark for the first four months of 2011 over the same period in 2009 “has come after much-publicized layoffs that cut nearly 15 percent of the police force at the end of last year, creating an ‘I-told-you-so’ moment for many observers inside and outside the law enforcement community.”

Violent crime—including homicides, shootings, and assaults—was up 21 percent in Newark in the first quarter of 2011 compared with the same period in 2010, reported the Star-Ledger (“Bloody weekend in Newark as violence heats up,” May 30, 2011).

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