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Gary nation’s most ‘underpoliced’ city, study finds

Police crime tape remains tangled bush near house Gary. A recently-released report placed Gary police department top list underfunded departments

Police crime tape remains tangled in a bush near the house in Gary. A recently-released report placed the Gary police department at the top of a list of underfunded departments in the United States. | File~Sun-Times Media

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Rankings

A new study from the University of California, Berkeley, seeks to measure the true “cost of crime” in U.S. cities.

The following lists these statistics: Rank/city, population, poverty rate, income per capita, cost of crime per capita, fraction income at risk, officers per 100,000 population, estimated cost per officer and benefit cost ratio.

MOST OVERPOLICED CITIES

1 Sunnyvale, CA 140,081 6:2 $43,828 $169 0.004 168:1 $280,434 0:2

2 Waltham, MA 60,632 11:5 $32,014 $123 0.004 246:8 $110,926 0:2

3 Torrance, CA 145,438 6:3 $36,007 $184 0.005 161:5 $204,302 0:3

4 Palo Alto, CA 64,403 5:7 $70,242 $211 0.003 148:6 $235,566 0:3

5 Bayonne, NJ 63,024 12:3 $28,698 $242 0.008 369:2 $107,971 0:3

6 Cambridge, MA 105,162 15:0 $44,717 $284 0.006 260:9 $157,353 0:3

7 Santa Monica, CA 89,736 11:1 $58,399 $434 0.007 230:4 $257,434 0:3

8 Stamford, CT 122,643 11:1 $44,667 $271 0.006 239:9 $139,771 0:4

9 Warwick, RI 82,672 7:6 $30,422 $194 0.006 203:3 $113,538 0:4

10 Burbank, CA 103,340 8:2 $33,320 $271 0.008 148:9 $212,202 0:4

11 Ann Arbor, MI 113,934 20:2 $30,498 $172 0.006 129:3 $151,331 0:4

12 Cranston, RI 80,387 8:4 $27,752 $183 0.007 180:0 $108,909 0:4

13 Alameda, CA 73,812 10:1 $38,434 $299 0.008 134:9 $233,762 0:4

14 Royal Oak, MI 57,236 6:8 $37,095 $185 0.005 143:6 $129,915 0:5

15 Alexandria, VA 139,966 7:8 $54,345 $335 0.006 225:6 $149,329 0:5

16 Lakewood, OH 52,131 15:1 $27,452 $244 0.009 170:8 $135,616 0:5

17 San Mateo, CA 97,207 5:9 $44,949 $312 0.007 119:3 $247,161 0:5

18 Bloomington, MN 82,893 7:3 $34,400 $231 0.007 137:5 $157,981 0:5

19 Livonia, MI 96,942 5:0 $31,632 $204 0.006 156:0 $121,898 0:5

20 Santa Barbara, CA 88,410 14:1 $36,601 $381 0.010 155:6 $216,493 0:5

21 Meriden, CT 60,868 13:8 $27,625 $311 0.011 203:6 $132,685 0:5

22 Santa Clara, CA 116,468 8:6 $38,422 $380 0.010 129:2 $251,667 0:5

23 Somerville, MA 75,754 14:7 $32,517 $305 0.009 163:4 $152,442 0:6

24 Honolulu, HI 953,207 8:8 $29,516 $310 0.010 222:8 $111,955 0:6

25 Berkeley, CA 112,580 18:9 $36,498 $610 0.017 176:5 $276,945 0:6

26 Eugene, OR 156,185 20:7 $24,917 $292 0.012 123:1 $189,450 0:6

27 Yonkers, NY 195,976 13:8 $29,191 $516 0.018 311:4 $132,415 0:6

28 Glendale, CA 191,719 13:0 $29,823 $256 0.009 128:0 $157,361 0:6

29 Fullerton, CA 135,161 11:3 $30,580 $300 0.010 115:3 $204,863 0:6

30 Alhambra, CA 83,089 12:7 $24,327 $276 0.011 95:0 $224,309 0:6

MOST UNDERPOLICED CITIES

242 Gary, IN 80,294 34:2 $15,383 $4,376 0.284 266:2 $54,893 14:0

241 New Orleans, LA 343,829 24:4 $24,929 $3,963 0.159 405:9 $55,337 8:2

240 Flint, MI 102,434 36:6 $14,910 $3,291 0.221 190:0 $107,507 7:5

239 Saginaw, MI 51,508 37:4 $14,157 $2,970 0.210 187:7 $125,772 5:9

238 Youngstown, OH 66,982 32:7 $14,451 $3,057 0.212 238:9 $106,274 5:6

237 Detroit, MI 713,777 34:5 $15,062 $3,691 0.245 360:9 $95,934 5:0

236 Birmingham, AL 212,237 26:4 $19,775 $3,106 0.157 350:4 $85,184 4:8

235 Jackson, MS 173,514 26:6 $19,095 $2,198 0.115 261:0 $81,255 4:8

234 Baton Rouge, LA 229,493 25:5 $23,195 $2,286 0.099 288:2 $86,510 4:3

233 St. Louis, MO 319,294 26:0 $21,406 $3,486 0.163 400:7 $104,741 3:9

232 Pontiac, MI 59,515 32:0 $15,957 $1,918 0.120 177:2 $134,235 3:8

231 San Bernardino, CA 209,924 27:4 $15,616 $1,969 0.126 157:7 $156,615 3:7

230 Macon, GA 91,351 30:6 $17,110 $1,774 0.104 298:8 $75,503 3:7

229 Richmond, VA 204,214 25:3 $26,034 $2,614 0.100 351:6 $96,612 3:6

228 Richmond, CA 103,701 16:4 $24,847 $3,010 0.121 163:1 $240,409 3:6

227 Little Rock, AR 193,524 17:4 $29,229 $2,181 0.075 275:7 $105,633 3:5

226 Baltimore, MD 620,961 21:3 $23,333 $3,428 0.147 478:5 $97,815 3:4

225 Camden, NJ 77,344 36:1 $12,807 $4,352 0.340 510:1 $122,706 3:2

224 Columbus, GA 189,885 18:2 $22,514 $1,041 0.046 210:3 $71,691 3:2

223 Memphis, TN 646,889 25:4 $21,007 $2,019 0.096 310:4 $99,214 3:1

222 Atlanta, GA 420,003 22:6 $35,453 $2,133 0.060 333:3 $97,859 3:0

221 Shreveport, LA 199,311 22:1 $22,047 $1,618 0.073 281:4 $89,395 3:0

220 Albany, GA 77,434 32:0 $17,416 $1,170 0.067 234:8 $77,827 3:0

219 Oakland, CA 390,724 18:7 $30,671 $2,516 0.082 182:2 $221,429 2:9

218 Tulsa, OK 391,906 19:3 $26,069 $1,565 0.060 205:4 $122,882 2:9

217 N. Little Rock, AR 62,304 22:5 $23,578 $1,723 0.073 317:8 $87,544 2:9

216 Knoxville, TN 178,874 23:4 $21,964 $1,292 0.059 211:7 $99,491 2:9

215 Dayton, OH 141,527 31:0 $16,702 $1,955 0.117 272:0 $117,528 2:8

214 Indianapolis, IN 820,445 17:9 $24,334 $1,431 0.059 200:3 $117,840 2:8

213 Mobile, AL 195,111 21:5 $22,401 $1,122 0.050 209:1 $89,803 2:8

Source: “The Effect of Police on Crime: New Evidence from U.S. Cities, 1960-2010,” Aaron Chalfin, Justin McCrary, University of California, Berkeley

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Updated: December 30, 2012 3:49PM



GARY — Gary is the most “underpoliced” city in the nation, a new study released this month shows.

“Over a quarter of people’s income is lost due to crime. It’s very big relative to other cities. It says something about the degree to which victimization affects people in Gary,” Aaron Chalfin, one author of the study, said Wednesday.

Examining crime rates, income, the number of police officers, their salaries and other socioeconomic factors, Chalfin, a doctoral candidate, and Justin McCrary, a professor at University of California, Berkeley, determined the “cost of crime” in more than 130 cities.

With per capita annual income of $15,383, the cost of crime for each Gary resident is $4,376. That cost could translate as pain and suffering, or the price to replace a stolen car.

By comparison, Sunnyvale, Calif., ranked first as the most “overpoliced” city in the United States, costing each resident there about $280,000 per officer and the cost of crime $169 per resident.

“It’s it not good to be overpoliced,” McCrary said. “A city that is overpoliced is like a city where everyone has hired their own bodyguard.”

For every $1 Gary spends on police, residents receive a $14 return, suggesting the cost of law enforcement here is cheap, the authors said.

In theory, hiring more officers would solve the high crime rate, but the city’s financial problems prohibit that, McCrary said. Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 61 President Sam Abegg said he estimates the department could perform better with at least 75 more officers, bringing the roster to about 300.

Another way to bring the city’s crime costs down would be to redeploy manpower, moving more officers onto the streets. The authors say, however, the work inside the police station is also important and to reduce staff could hinder investigations.

Chalfin said using statistical analysis to focus efforts on recognized crime areas can reduce criminal activity. Gary already has a Crime Suppression Unit, which supports patrol officers and also works in targeted areas.

“It is always our goal to give our citizens the best police coverage possible, and I’m glad to see that this study speaks to that,” Police Chief Wade Ingram said. “Since our force is smaller than it was in years past, we continue to employ innovative practices to help fight crime such as crime suppression units, increased foot patrol and our crime tip hotline to name a few.”

Perhaps the most effective way to increase police power without increasing expense is to merge with another department, McCrary suggested.

“The bigger police departments are a lot cheaper to run,” he said. But the result can also mean a loss “of texture and nuance” that residents will resist when they deal with officers unfamiliar with the territory.



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