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Public Safety Funding

August 16, 2021
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WRITTEN BY Jill Barnas

Police officers are primarily responsible for public safety, including crime prevention and investigation. However, in recent years, police officers have taken on many additional duties that may be outside of their traditional scope of practice and require additional training. Recently, various cities and municipalities have restructured their public safety budgets to include increases for  mental health and community-based services.

Highlights

  • Most criminal activity is classified as non-violent crime. In 2018, 13% of all Missouri criminal activity was classified as violent crime.
  • Mental illness, homelessness, and substance use disorders are significant public health crises in Missouri. Individuals experiencing mental illness, homelessness, and/or substance abuse are likely to be jailed for both violent and non-violent offenses and be repeat offenders.
  • State and local spending on U.S. police departments has increased 26% over the last 20 years. 

Limitations

  • Recent reallocations of police funds have occurred in various cities and local municipalities; however, the effectiveness of the reallocation of funds to mental health and community-based services has yet to be evaluated.
  • Many non-budgetary factors play a role in determining the amount of crime that occurs. Budgetary analysis, alone, will not account for these factors.
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