What Policing Costs: A Look at Spending in America's Biggest Cities
Date:  07-03-2020

Every three seconds a person is arrested in America, and more than 80% of arrests are for low-level, non-violent offenses
From Vera Institute of Justice


Modern day police departments are among the most powerful local government agencies—and much of that power lies in their funding. As protests against police brutality and the overpolicing of Black communities sweep the country, people are demanding cutting police department budgets. The message is clear: now is the time to spend less on policing and more on communities.

To explore the cost of policing at the local level, Vera compiled data from the fiscal year 2020 adopted budgets of 72 of the biggest cities across the United States.

Getting involved in budget justice

Choosing a city will take you to a more detailed breakdown of the policing budget with a calculator that allows you to explore how changes to each spending category could reduce the total. Where available, the budgets are contextualized with data on historic policing expenditures and enforcement practices, including racial disparities in arrests. Continue reading >>>