Public Safety Spending Increases for 3rd Consecutive Year

Spending for public safety in the San Diego region has gone up for the third year in a row, according to a new report from the San Diego Association of Governments.

For the fiscal 2013-2014, local governments spent $1.9 billion on law enforcement wages, criminal justice systems and probation-parole costs, five percent higher than one year and five years ago.

More state funds made up part of the increase, SANDAG officials say. The state allocated more money to local agencies to implement Assembly Bill 109, which required California prisons to reduce their population starting in October 2011.

Per-resident costs were seven percent higher than just one year ago at $604, and one-third of general funds for incorporated cities were spent on the cost of law enforcement in individual police departments.

The cost of prosecutions, public defense, court support, law enforcement for unincorporated areas and local corrections made up 21 percent of the county's expenditures last year.

The "Public Safety Allocations in the San Diego Region: Expenditures and Staffing for Fiscal Year 2014" report released by SANDAG breaks down the costs and spending per capita by jurisdiction and includes crime rate information.

"Although public safety realignment has brought additional resources to San Diego County, local public safety agencies also have many more responsibilities under the law than previously," said SANDAG Director of Criminal Justice Research Dr. Cynthia Burke in a press release.

"With budgets remaining tight, it's important that all of the agencies in the region continue to work together collaboratively to address the needs arising from the evolving criminal justice system."

Some of the findings in the report include average officer-to-resident ratios, the spending of general funds, law enforcement wage funding and the cost of AB 109 on local agencies since taking on the workload from the state. Those agencies include the Probation Department, San Diego County Sheriff's Department, the District Attorney's Office and public defenders.

The full report can be read here.

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