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Violent Crimes at 39-Year Low. Police Spending at $100 billion.

Written by Gary North on May 28, 2012

The good news is that violent crimes are at a 39-year low. The bad news is that spending on law enforcement remains at $100 billion a year.

Compared with social welfare spending and the Defense Department budget, this is small change.  But shouldn’t lower rates of violent crime produce small police departments?

No. Why not? Because tax spending on crime is never cut. The law enforcement system is a bureaucracy. The law of bureaucracy says that spending is never cut. It’s a ratchet. (It’s also a racket.)

So, crime gets re-defined. New crimes are added to the old list, so that there will be a constant rate of spending, minimum, and maybe rising.

The number of arrests stays about the same. So the arrest-to-crime ratio keeps rising.
There are about 770,000 policemen nationwide. This stays constant.
So, where is the money going? To fight illegal drugs. Arrests are up 45%, 1993 to 2007.
Society can deal with this in two ways: (1) Lower the definition of crime and cut funding; (2) increase the definition of crime and keep funding constant.
This choice has not changed in 300 years. There is a book on this that studies a relatively crime-free era in a low-crime region: New England Massachusetts. Its title: Wayward Puritans (1966). It is by Kai T. Erikson. I read it the year it came out. The definition of what constitutes crime kept rising as payments to fight crime increased.
(There is a rock group, Chris Erickson and the Wayward Puritans. Pretty clever inside joke.)

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2 thoughts on “Violent Crimes at 39-Year Low. Police Spending at $100 billion.

  1. ProundPatriotToo says:

    Isn't that the way it always goes? Nothing changes unless, we the voters, get out there in November and make the changes. You can not keep making excuses why things are not going well; when you sit out their and say, "my vote won't count, I' am busy, I have children," I work and can't get off for voting, my gold fish died." I could go on with all the brain dead excuses, but I am sure people get the message. For the idiots who will not vote or will vote for the communist, you are the problem, why this country is in the sewer pit. Stop complaining and v-o-t-e. The survival of this country is on our shoulders and our index finger is our weapon. If not, lock and load. You have two choices, period. No more excuses.

  2. LeRoy pfaff says:

    the violence nationally and internationally is at an all time high. What are the News Media trying to do, every thing they can until they are ready to kill and put most of the people in captivity. Why are Liberals so Hateful and unhappy.