SAN DIEGO — Public safety budgets throughout San Diego County elevated 5% throughout FY2020, in line with an annual SANDAG study. The area spent almost $2.5 billion on safety, which incorporates courts, corrections and prosecution. About half the quantity went in direction of regulation enforcement.
“That was 5% up from the previous year, which may seem like a lot, but what’s important to remember is that when we had the Great Recession, we really had a decline. So, this is only the third consecutive increase over time,” mentioned Cindy Burke, Ph. D., Director of Research and Program Management at SANDAG.
The greatest causes for the increase embody extra labor prices, IT and the COVID-19 response. Departments grappled with shopping for new safety tools and protection for workers who needed to quarantine or have been sick.
SANDAG’s study checked out spending by way of June 2020, which is when protesters known as on native leaders to scale back police expenditures for FY2021. On common, 34% of budgets for cities with their very own police division went to regulation enforcement. National City and El Cajon spent essentially the most at 46% of their price range. While Carlsbad and Coronado spent the least at about 25%.
Researchers additionally discovered the area already has far fewer officers than common whereas nonetheless sustaining a low common crime rate. There are 1.3 officers for each 1,000 residents in San Diego County. Chula Vista had the bottom common at lower than one officer per 1,000 residents and Coronado had essentially the most at almost two officers. The nationwide common is 2.4.
Burke mentioned departments are getting ready for a possible price range discount this year as a result of cities should account for a discount in vacationer tax income throughout the pandemic. Although a few of will probably be offset by a discount in giant occasions that will usually require additional time shifts.
“I think it will be interesting to see, as we’re still in it right now, how do we look when we’re getting into this full year of the pandemic? And, what did that do to budgets?” she mentioned.
SANDAG additionally requested departments in regards to the impacts of public safety reform and oversight, though lots of the requires change occurred after budgets had been finalized.
“They were also very open to working with the community and having those dialogs about diversity and inclusiveness,” mentioned Burke of the questionnaire outcomes.
Next year, researchers could proceed to survey departments about police reform, the affect of latest laws and new neighborhood applications.
“This last year was just a phenomenal amount of change. It was really a tipping point. When you look at the pandemic, how it’s affected us all. Some of our other work that we’re doing is looking at our mental health calls for service have changed over time. How are the crime numbers that we’re seeing have changed over time? And we want to keep doing that,” mentioned Burke. “The district attorney’s office is working with the county behavioral health services to look at how mental health calls are responded to locally when there’s no threat to public safety and could a clinician respond without a law enforcement officer. So that would be a change of routine in next year’s report.”
WATCH: SANDAG: San Diego zip codes with excessive unemployment report excessive variety of coronavirus instances