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Public safety spending regionwide increased 5%

Public safety spending in the San Diego region has risen for the third consecutive year, reaching $1.9 billion in fiscal year 2013-2014, according to a new report released by the SANDAG Criminal Justice Research Division. A year-to-year comparison showed a five-percent growth in spending over the past two fiscal years.

The increase is in part attributed to state funds received by local agencies to implement public safety realignment under AB 109, which took effect in October 2011. The report titled “Public Safety Allocations in the San Diego Region: Expenditures and Staffing for Fiscal Year 2014” includes a complete breakdown of per capita expenditure by jurisdiction along with crime rates by jurisdiction.

In FY 2013-2014, the region as a whole received $50.71 million for realignment-related functions, such as housing and supervising offenders who were previously the state’s responsibility. The four primary local agencies responsible for carrying out realignment functions are: Probation, Sheriff, District Attorney, and Public Defender.

 “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. “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.”

On average, there were 1.31 sworn officers per 1,000 residents in the region in the last fiscal year, which is unchanged from FY 2012- 2013 and is well below the recent national figure of 2.4 per 1,000 people. Over the past year, sworn staffing increased less than one percent regionally, with five of the 11 agencies having no change in sworn staffing, four having increases, and two with decreases.

Other notable findings:

• A total of $604 was spent for public safety per resident in FY 2013-2014, up seven percent from 2012-13 ($563) but still lower than the peak in 2007-08 ($624).

• One-third of general funds for all incorporated cities operating individual police departments were dedicated to law enforcement, ranging from 22 percent to 43 percent across jurisdictions.

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For media inquiries, please contact the SANDAG Public Information Office at (619) 699-1950 or