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Study: Stamford Is 'Overpoliced'

A study done by the University of California-Berkeley found Stamford to be the eighth most- "over-policed" city in the country.
A study done by the University of California-Berkeley found Stamford to be the eighth most- "over-policed" city in the country. Photo Credit: Anthony Buzzeo

STAMFORD, Conn. ? Stamford is the eighth most over-policed city in the country, according to a recent study.

Researchers at the University of California-Berkeley examined 50 years of data relating to crime rates, the number of officers and various socioeconomic factors to determine the “cost of crime” in more than 240 cities around the country.

In a report published late last month, Professor Justin McCrary and Aaron Chalfin, a doctoral candidate, ranked cities based on costs and benefits.

On average, every dollar spent on policing nationally is associated with $1.60 in reduced victimization costs.  In Stamford, however, every dollar spent yielded 40 cents in crime-reduction benefits. Researchers say this suggests law enforcement is relatively expensive in Stamford and indicates the city may be "overpoliced."

In their 80-page study , using data between 1960 and 2010, McCrary and Chalfin said they found that, in general, increasing police presence in a city lowers the cost of crime. In Stamford, crime costs – pain and suffering or the cost of replacing stolen goods – were roughly $271 per resident, and $139,771 per officer.

By comparison, for Gary, Ind., which was the least policed city, costs were $4,376 per resident and $266.20 per officer, but yields were $14 in crime reduction benefits for every dollar spent.

In June, Stamford Police refuted the finding of another study commissioned by the city and conducted by the Matrix Consulting Group. The study suggested that having fewer officers on duty during a shift will reduce overtime costs. There are about 270 city police officers, and the department would like to have closer to 300, as it did several years ago, police said in August .

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