Letter to New York Times Editor: ‘The High Cost of Policing’

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The New York City Police Academy’s graduation ceremony last March. Nationwide, the ratio of police officers to residents has stayed about the same even as crime rates have fallen. CreditDrew Angerer/Getty Images

To the Editor:

Crime Is Falling, but Police Levels Remain Robust” (news article, Jan. 8) raises important questions about the need to keep expanding police forces as crime falls. The United States spends a staggering $100 billion on policing a year. It also comes with serious trade-offs for municipalities short of cash.

Last year, the Center for Popular Democracy, the Law for Black Lives and the Black Youth Project 100 examined a dozen jurisdictions and found that most of the cities studied spent a third to nearly half of their general funds on police departments, while grossly underinvesting in affordable housing, transit, mental health and youth services.

Expanding police forces may not only be ineffective, as the article suggests, but it also undermines the ability of governments to provide the resources that ensure public safety and let communities thrive.

KUMAR RAO, BROOKLYN

The writer is a senior staff attorney at the Center for Popular Democracy.

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/18/opinion/policing.html

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