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More than $2.1 Billion Spent on Keeping the San Diego Region Safe in 2018

New SANDAG Study Analyzes Local Public Safety Expenditures

February 26, 2019-- Local public safety budgets in the San Diego region have increased for the fifth consecutive year according to a new report released by the SANDAG Criminal Justice (CJ) Research Division.

The SANDAG CJ Bulletin: Public Safety Allocations in the San Diego Region: Expenditures and Staffing for FY 2017–18 found that the San Diego region spent more than $2.1 billion on public safety in fiscal year 2018 (FY 2018).  Some expenditure increases were attributed to higher labor, staffing, retirement, workers’ compensation, information technology, and equipment costs.

“After the great recession, which started in December 2007, we had four consecutive annual decreases,” said SANDAG Division Director of Criminal Justice Dr. Cynthia Burke. “Today, public safety expenditures are back to where they were in 2009.”

Notable key findings include:

• $2.21 billion spent on public safety functions in 2018 equates to about $668 spent on every San Diego County resident

• Almost one in every two of dollars was spent on law enforcement functions, but the San Diego region has fewer sworn public safety officers per capita: 1.29 per 1,000 population compared to the national average at 2.40

• Across local jurisdictions, an average of 32% of general funds are used to support law enforcement activities

• About one in every five dollars is spent on corrections

• One in every ten dollars is spent on court-related functions and prosecutions

The annual SANDAG CJ Bulletin is part of “Crime in the San Diego Region,” a series that focuses on regional public safety allocations. The newly released CJ bulletin describes how dollars are spent in parts of the criminal justice system regionally over time, how jurisdictions have allocated dollars for law enforcement, how this information is related to recent crime rates and population served, and how staffing figures are related to expenditures.

For a full breakdown of expenditures by jurisdiction view the SANDAG CJ Bulletin: Public Safety Allocations in the San Diego Region: Expenditures and Staffing for FY 2017–18.

For a two-page summary of this report view the SANDAG CJ Flash.

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