RAND has come up with a pretty nifty way to calculate crime costs in relation to the number of police officers.
“Existing high-quality research on the costs of crime and the effectiveness of police demonstrates that public investment in police can generate substantial social returns. A Center on Quality Policing study, Hidden in Plain Sight: What Cost-of-Crime Research Can Tell Us About Investing in Police, shows how this research can be used to better understand the returns on investments in police.
“The following example is based on the size of the Los Angeles Police Department. See the April 14, 2010 LA City Council hearing on police force reductions. The LA City Council rejected a recommendation to freeze hiring, choosing to maintain staffing at 9,963 officers this fiscal year. You can edit the numbers for your community.
• To see how an increase or decrease in police personnel will affect crime costs, enter a number of officers in Change in Number of Police Personnel. The default example shows that reducing the size of the department by 90 officers would increase crime costs by over $32 million. You can also edit the Size of Department.
• You can edit the Cost per Crime and Crimes per Year columns to calculate the value of police in other cities. See the FBI Uniform Crime Reports for data on reported crimes in other cities.
• The Dollar Year Adjustment is based on inflation. To adjust the cost of crime figures from 2007 dollars to other years besides 2010, use this inflation calculator.”