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SANDAG Report: Public Safety Spending Up 4th Straight Year

San Diego County CA— Spending by public safety agencies in San Diego County edged up slightly in FY 2014-15, marking the fourth straight year that expenditures have increased, according to a report released today by the SANDAG Criminal Justice Research Division.

Combined, agencies across the region spent nearly $2 billion, up 2 percent from the previous year and 11 percent higher than five years ago, according to the report: Public Safety Allocations in the San Diego Region: Expenditures and Staffing for Fiscal Year 2015.

“These increases are due in part to the region’s strengthening economy and higher labor costs,” said Dr. Cynthia Burke, SANDAG Criminal Justice Research Director. “They are also due to an infusion of state funding intended to help local agencies address the impact of AB109 – the state’s prison realignment.”

This annual report – part of the Crime in the San Diego Region series – examines how dollars are invested across the region’s criminal justice system.

It documents how jurisdictions allocate funds for law enforcement; how these figures relate to recent crime rates and population numbers; and how staffing figures are related to expenditures.

The report found that approximately one-third of general funds for all incorporated cities with their own police departments were dedicated to law enforcement costs.

Almost half – 47 percent – of public safety dollars spent in FY 2014-15 were allocated for law enforcement activities, with the other half divided across the six remaining categories: corrections, court-related costs, prosecution, probation, public defense.

Other notable facts in the report:

  •  A total of $616 per resident was spent for public safety in FY 2014-2015 in San Diego County.
  •  In the last five years, some of the largest expenditure increases went to public defense and probation field services and administration.
  •  Regionally, there were 1.31 sworn officers per 1,000 residents. That average, which remained unchanged for the second consecutive year, is well below the recent national figure of 2.3 per 1,000 residents.
  •  During the past five years, the ratio of sworn officers-to-population decreased for more than half of the region’s law enforcement agencies.

About the Criminal Justice Research Division:

The SANDAG Criminal Justice Research Division functions as the region’s clearinghouse for criminal justice information. Each year, SANDAG responds to numerous requests for information from elected officials, representatives of criminal justice agencies, community-based organizations, research and educational institutions, the public, and news media. SANDAG publishes comprehensive reports covering many topics related to public safety and the justice system, including domestic violence, juvenile crime, drug abuse, and regional crime statistics. Recent reports include:


The San Diego Association of Governments (SANDAG) is the San Diego region’s primary public planning, transportation, and research agency, providing the public forum for regional policy decisions about growth, transportation planning and construction, environmental management, housing, open space, energy, public safety, and binational topics. SANDAG is governed by a Board of Directors composed of mayors, council members, and supervisors from each of the region’s 18 cities and the county government.


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