As budget-triggered reductions of Los Angeles Police Department cops affect the city for the first time since 2005, the union representing LAPD officers is touting a Rand study that concludes adding more badges to the force is well worth the cost.

The report, issued last month, concluded that “an approximately 10 percent expansion of the police force in Los Angeles, begun in 2005, would generate about $475 million in annual crime reduction benefits, substantially above the $125 million to $150 million annual cost of the officers.”

In a rare quote given to the police union, the Los Angeles Police Protective League, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said … “the RAND report provides an outstanding summary of leading academic research on the cost of crime and the effectiveness of police in preventing crime. It is an excellent tool for the LAPD and city officials to use in making tough decisions on investments in public safety.”

The basis of the study is that crime costs cities and communities, and that healthy police forces can cut those costs. Rand states that crime has cost the communities of Chicago $8.3 billion and Houston $5.7 billion in lost productivity, medical expenses, and decreased quality of life.

“We know that an effective police presence reduces crime,” states union president Paul M. Weber. “That has now been quantified to show that the expansion of the Los Angeles Police Department has actually generated about $475 million in crime reduction benefits. This is vital information for city leaders to consider as they work through the current city budget crisis, and should guide them as they try to avoid both economic and social damage in any budget cuts.”

LA Weekly