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How many cops? Experts say look at a range of measures - The Galveston County Daily News: Local News

October 23, 2016

Public safety: The cost/benefit question How many cops? Experts say look at a range of measures

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  • Matt Coulson posted at 9:32 am on Sun, Jul 27, 2014.

    Matt Coulson Posts: 154

    So, mr. Smith writes an article on police funding without MENTIONING the subsidized housing about to be built? He has written extensively on the subject and knows the statistics, why would he omit this from an article on future police funding?

  • John McLane posted at 10:54 am on Sun, Jul 27, 2014.

    John McLane Posts: 49

    The article misses a critical dimension of discussion in comparing the true cost of police services...who is protecting the school campuses? For instance, LCPD and GPD have no officers on school campuses yet other departments provide these services and likely the costs are reflected in these departments' budgets. To be sure, there probably is some cost sharing with the ISDs but the article has a fatal flaw in its cost comparison metrics.

  • seamus posted at 12:41 pm on Sun, Jul 27, 2014.

    seamus Posts: 284

    This is a well-researched and well-written article. It highlights the fact that the human population of Galveston can double or triple on a summer weekend, and the visitors are not all choirboys.

    Commuting workers generally do not engage in disorderly conduct, fights, stabbings, shootings, purse-snatching, armed robbery, etc., that require a lot of police attention.

    The Galveston police department may cost $346 per resident per year, but compare that to the personal cost of a rape, robbery, burglary, or drive-by shooting.

    I don't want to return to the situation in the 1990s, when anything of value was stolen overnight if not in a few minutes. We had three garage burglaries, and someone stole our trash cans. Trash cans, with the trash in them.

    - Jim

  • Jake Buckner posted at 12:43 pm on Sun, Jul 27, 2014.

    Jake Buckner Posts: 2240

    I think Mr. Smith left public housing out of the discussion because the GDN has a silly policy of saying nothing negative about it. In fact, that appears to be a policy of City government as well. You can bet Chief Porretto is planning for it, however.

    I can hardly wait for the article that compares public safety to buying expensive toilets for the seawall, or fixing curbs. My street is one of the more torn-up on the Island, and I only notice it when I roll my trash can out. Sure makes me feel good seeing the occasional police cruiser patrolling the neighborhood, however.

  • wbb posted at 3:14 pm on Sun, Jul 27, 2014.

    wbb Posts: 35

    Since the numbers have been broken down to cost per resident, how about cost per residence? or Officer per home? Each residence still contributes to tax rolls and without police patrolling neighborhoods, we know those homes are susceptible to being broken into which leads to increase property insurance rates.

  • Rockstrongo posted at 4:15 pm on Sun, Jul 27, 2014.

    Rockstrongo Posts: 344

    Galveston residents are poor and dumb. When the projects get here we are gonna be dumber and poorer. When people are poor and dumb you need a lot of cops. Good luck with that.

  • miceal o'laochdha posted at 10:25 am on Mon, Jul 28, 2014.

    miceal o'laochdha Posts: 661

    The broader efforts to make comparisons to cities other than those bedroom communities on the Mainland in Galveston County are a good start. But look at some of the cities chosen for comparison.

    Alameda, California for example, might seem a close comparison but, I lived there for five years (1995-1999) an can attest the comparison is apples to oranges.

    Alameda is an Island, and is the County Seat of Alameda County (which includes the major city of Oakland). It has a small shipyard repair business similar in size and scope to what Galveston and a pleasure boat marina. That is the beginning and end of reasonable comparison to Galveston.

    Alameda, has no beaches, no amusement parks, no festivals and no businesses remotely on the scale of ANICO or UTMB. It is a quiet bedroom community where 90% of the residents commute to work and everything else in San Francisco or Oakland. The percentage of population that is low income or in any form of public housing or government assistance is very low; all those folks live across the channel in Oakland. The real challenge for Alameda police is protecting the residents from incursions across the bridges and tunnel by thugs and thieves from Oakland.

    So when you look at the costs of a city like Alameda, a more thorough news article would give a clearer picture of where their police funds are really spent. It is in no way on population surges from tourists; it is thug surges from across the bridge. Once we get the public housing going full bore here again, we will have both Alameda's problem AND tourists to deal with.