Crime is up; Police Numbers are Down, and Additional Resources Desperately Needed
A recent article from Associated Press (AP), points to the widespread problem America is facing as it comes out of the pandemic. Violent crimes are up at the same time that police numbers are dwindling. This has caused many departments to shift veteran officers from specialized crime units back to patrol duties to fill their dwindling ranks.
AP reported that “Los Angeles, which is down more than 650 officers from its pre-pandemic staffing level, shuttered its animal cruelty unit and downsized its human trafficking, narcotics and gun details and reduced its homeless outreach teams by 80%. Seattle recently announced $2 million in hiring bonuses and benefits to lure recruits amid a critical officer shortage that has hampered the investigation of serious crimes.”
The result of this shift in resources is that backlogs of unsolved crimes are growing, adding to the already overburdened police staffs nationwide. Recruitment has also been a challenge as officers burned out from the stresses of the pandemic and social unrest are either retiring or moving to the private sector.
As these problems have intensified over the last few years there has been a spirited debate over law enforcement policy and funding at the local, state, and Federal levels.
However, that debate is ultimately resolved, and the Biden administration has come out in favor of additional funding for law enforcement to address the challenges described above.
A New Plan For Public Safety
President Biden asserted in his 2022 State of the Union, “We should all agree: The answer is not to defund the police. It’s to fund the police…Fund them. Fund them. Fund them with resources and training to protect their communities.”
His subsequent fiscal year 2023 budget request called for additional funding and new programs, and he directed the use of American Response Plan funding, passed by congress at the beginning of his administration to help communities recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, to be used to address increases in crime.
A recent White House Fact Sheet, “President Biden’s Safer America Plan”, provides additional details on law enforcement spending in his FY23 budget request and summarizes his administration’s support for additional law enforcement funding proposed during his administration. The intent of the billions in new funding over the next five years is to hire additional officers and provide much-needed funding for departments to purchase updated technology to help solve crimes using digital evidence.
The high points of the additional funding are as follows: “The Safer America Plan will provide communities the resources they need to keep our streets safe, including by helping them hire and train 100,000 additional police officers for accountable community policing (nearly $13 billion over the next five years through the COPS Hiring Program) and setting aside dedicated funds for small law enforcement agencies.
At the same time, this plan will invest nearly $3 billion to help communities clear court backlogs and solve murders to take shooters and other violent criminals off the streets, including by helping communities set up task forces to share intelligence to bring down the gun violence rate.”
This new funding will be in addition to over $10 billion in funds already committed to policing and other public safety efforts under the America Rescue Plan, which includes at least $6.5 billion in State and Local funds committed in more than 300 communities across the country.
Funding to Modernize The Investigative Process
These funds are going to be a huge boost to law enforcement agencies, not just in filling much-needed staffing positions but in providing them with the necessary means to modernize existing workflows through a digital transformation that takes advantage of all the evidence being surfaced in modern investigations through the lawful collection of data from cell phones and other digital sources to help close the growing public-safety gap.
How Cellebrite is Helping
Cellebrite’s Digital Intelligence platform provides a complete end-to-end solution for law enforcement agencies to collect, manage, analyze and review data to provide actionable intelligence to close more cases faster.
Learn more about how Cellebrite’s solutions can help your organization, here.