Effects of Police Department Budget on Crime Solving Rate - Research Proposal

Published: 2021-08-11
1777 words
7 pages
15 min to read
Vanderbilt University
Type of paper: 
Research proposal
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Police departments are significant participants in municipal budgeting in most states. The U.S. Department of Commerce estimated that the police departments spent over $20.9 billion in the years between 1991 and 1992 (Coe & Wiesel, 2001). Municipal budgets are characterized by a high degree of competition from the various civil agencies. Police departments were part of the city agencies fall in this competition. However, police departments enjoy a definite advantage due to the publics interest in safety. Most police departments continue to experience funding from the state, federal and local sources (Coe & Wiesel, 2001). However, most of the departments budgets cannot sustain their operations fully.

In the justice system, the aspect of law enforcement is the first initiative in dealing with crime. Police departments play a crucial role in the criminal justice systems. This is because police departments are tasked with first, arresting of the offenders and secondly, a collection of evidence against offenders which is then presented in a court of law where a criminal case is determined. Out of the total number of members in the criminal justice system, the police are the majority and also the most visible component of the justice system. Police agencies rely on the departments budget to perform some activities which include;

Mobilize interest groups in policing operations,

Make strategic plan for crime solving, recruit police officers into the department,

Investigate crimes to collect information,

Purchase of various equipment and Artillery required in law enforcement etc.

Therefore police departments require an efficient and reliable source of funding to finance the various departmental activities. Police budgeting, therefore, is of crucial importance as the more money available, the more crimes are prevented.

Problem Statement

Police budgeting and expenditure have a direct relation to deterrence rate to criminal activities. Research by Chalfin and McCrary (2013) supports the arguments that increasing the numbers of police officers can reduce crime rates. According to the researchers, in the years between 1960 and 2012, crime rates have been recorded to reduce in cities whereby the police budget was increased (Lewis, 2004). Other studies show a myriad of other factors that influence criminal activities, but more emphasis is placed on police systems. Policing activities requires a high degree of planning and control. Police departments are therefore needed to come up with an effective and efficient which details how the resources are utilized. In a case whereby the available budget does not meet the requirements regarding resources, the department is most likely to fail in its mandate to reduce crime rates in a given area. In essence budget cuts in the police departments are also expected to lead to an increase in crime rates. Police crime solving rate is influenced by some factors. However, police department budgets play a significant role. The research paper seeks to examine the correlation that exists between police departments budgets and crime solving rates.


The primary objective of this study is;

To determine the effect of police departmental budgeting on crime solving rates.

Impact of the Proposed Research

The proposed research is expected to determine the effects of police department budgets on crime solving rates and the potential consequences in the overall criminal justice system. Also, the study is expected to examine the impact of increased police departmental budget on improving the policy and practice of criminal justice system as well as the related agencies. Impact of police department budget on public safety, security as well as effects on the quality of life of individuals is also expected to be examined.

Literature Review

High expenditure increases workforce and improves technology to aid in the fight against crime (Shoesmith and Klein 2012). A report by the US Department of Commerce shows that the police departments budgets are at an average high of 40 billion per year. The Municipal budgets are given the same weight as the police budgets, but regarding public interest, police budgets are passed (Clarke & Eck, 2014). The push for reforms in the police sector is possible but only with the requirements being satisfied. The most significant threat to this is budget cuts (Mello 2017).

Budgeting and Crime Rates

The police budgeting process is crucial in tracking the expenditure in the department and establishing the operating and capital budgets (Levitt, 2004). According to Kennedy (2009) and Crawford et al. (2017), some budgeting processes impede the alignment of policy goals with the required budgets. In the budgeting system, differentiation of capital budgets and operating budgets has proved crucial in the analysis of the needed funds.

Levitt, (2004), notes that capital budgets are crucial in the provision of vital technological equipment, buildings, vehicles, and property. An operational budget details the daily requirements that the police need to carry out their work efficiently. However, in many cases, these budgets always fall below the operating budgets.

The most prominent investment in the in the war against crime is technology (Shoesmith et al. 2012). Technology requires skill and proper maintenance, and this translates to a sizeable budgetary allocation due to the rigorous training needed since many in the police force lack the knowledge.

A very efficient management technique used in the police force today is CompStat. CompStat, according to Crawford & Evans (2017), is a program that ensures resources and tactics are utilized efficiently and that the fight against crime is fully supported. The system has been adopted in many cities serving in data collection of criminal activities and easy deployment of police services across the regions. It has been widely used across police departments as a management technique due to its personnel organization features and accountability techniques (Crawford et al. 2017).

Compstat has proven effective as witnessed by the reduction of criminal activities. Kennedy (2009) agrees with the system and points out that though the software accounts for a fraction of all police arrests, the changes effected are crucial in the long-run fight against crime.

In this system, effectiveness in determining crimes can be actualized, but the efficiency of the policing system as a whole remains low. Efficiency relates to the overall effect by the budget while an efficient technology may serve to reduce labor and time in carrying out an activity (Mello, 2017). In this manner, police chiefs have had to choose more efficient means of dealing with the situation due to the budgetary effects. Operating budgets play various roles, which have to be discontinued in times of budget cuts (Mello, 2017). The activities that might be affected in these cases include training, plans for acquiring new technologies, and cuts to personnel in severe cases.

Budgetary conditions state that law enforcement is determined by the number of arrests made and that the resources provided must transform to this. According to community-oriented policing services reports, this determination should not be relevant as the value of police cannot be measured by crime rates alone (Crawford et al. 2017). In this measure, the determination of police success should encompass value that is provided to the immediate community.

Police Budgets Effects on Crime

According to Shoesmith (2012), a ten percent escalation in the violent crime rates results in an estimated 8% increase in arrest rates. A study conducted by Shoesmith and Klein (2012) on police arrests from recorded data shows that a decrease in police expenditure results in a percent decrease in arrest rates. The coefficient of arrests in this study is economically significant, and a reduction or lag in the crimes leads to a lower ratio.

The efficiency of police operations is determined by an increase arrest rates (Levitt, 2004). The system should be able to convict felons and free the innocent as easily. There is, however, a concern that an increase in the per capita police expenses does not relate to increased efficiency in the police departments.

Shoesmith and Klein (2012) argue that the effectiveness of personnel in a police department is also based on the standards of the recruitment system. In a case where the system is reduced, the overall performance will tend to be poor. The mandatory requirements for recruiting people need financial support. Therefore, the aspect of budgeting and specifically operational budgets must cater for these essentials.

Clearance in many criminal acts has been seen to result from other inconveniences other than financial and economic condition (Mello, 2017). In some cases over time, there have been zero improvements in the clearance rates from the number of arrests made. The rate of clearance has been lowered in cases where supervisors and the people in higher positions are hands off and thus do not provide the required resources by detectives (Shoesmith et al. 2012). The aspect of proper budgeting and monitoring is critical in the policing system to ensure that they can locate documents, determine trends and connect dots leading to arrests all the while motivating officers to do their jobs (Mello 2017).

Research Design

The cross-sectional research method will be applied in this research. Cross-sectional surveys are much quicker and faster to perform compared to longitudinal studies. According to the research question, the specific outcome is a crime-solving rate while the particular exposure is police department budgets. A longitudinal research requires more time and planning since it includes a constant follow-up in cases whereby the outcomes of interest has not been identified. A longitudinal research design is also discouraged in studies whereby the numbers of exposures in the study are high. However, in this study there are only two variables, i.e., police department budget is the dependent variable and crime solving rate which is the independent variable. Therefore a cross-sectional survey will be preferred as opposed to a longitudinal research design.


The study sample will include police departments sampled across the different states in the United States. The researcher will use a non-probability sampling method to select the samples. A combination of random sampling as well as snowball sampling technique will be used in this case. This sampling technique includes an approach to identify information-rich departments which can be used in the study. The researcher will contact police departments which he assumes to be potential respondents and request them to participate in the study. This will be accomplished through the use of introductory letters sent by mail to the chief of police of the randomly selected police departments.


The study research hypothesis in this study is; police department budget has a direct relationship with crime solving rates. This means that an increase in the police department budget will cause an increase in the crime-solving rates while on the other hand; a decrease in the police department budget will result in reduced crime solving rates. Therefore, the study will consider the aspects of criminal activities, budgets, and police activities highlighted in the discussion above. These represent the critical variables of the survey eliminating other variables which affect illegal activities such as poverty levels, the number of police officers, etc. The independent variable in this study is the crime-solving rates while the...

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