2002-05-25 / Community

COPS Program Prevents Crimes

COPS Program Prevents Crimes

The Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program has prevented thousands of crimes in New York, the Tri-State area, and nationwide according to a new study conducted by the offices of Congressman Anthony Weiner and Senator Joseph Biden.

But Bush Administration budget cuts will take community police officers off the streets, compounding police force reductions in places like New York City, where city cuts may reduce the NYPD to it smallest level in a decade. Rep. Weiner and Sen. Biden have introduced legislation to save the COPS program and keep police officers on the beat.

Since the program was started in 1994, COPS has provided millions of dollars to cities and states to hire more than 110,000 new community police officers and to implement neighborhood crime fighting initiatives. The result: a dramatic drop in crime in New York, the Tri-State area, and across the nation. That’s according to the Biden-Weiner COPS study, the most detailed analysis of the impact of COPS on crime to date.

Between 1995 and 2000, nationwide the COPS program has prevented 757,319 crimes nationwide, including 153,428 violent crimes and 602,891 property crimes.

The COPS program has prevented 186,862 crimes in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Miami, including over 35,000 violent crimes, and almost 150,000 property crimes. In New York City alone, the study shows that 58,992 total crimes were prevented. Property crimes accounted for 47,429 and violent crimes totaled 11,563.

But despite the most concrete evidence to date that COPS works, President Bush wants to eviscerate the program, cutting the $330 million that states use to hire police, and providing no funding to retain the already hired COPS officers.

This will only make a bad situation worse in places like New York City, where Mayor Bloomberg’s contingency budget threatens to reduce the NYPD to its lowest staffing levels in a decade.

Rep. Weiner’s legislation, and Sen. Biden’s companion bill in the Senate won’t let that happen. Their legislation will fund COPS at $1.15 billion over the next six years, including: $600 million to put COPS officers on the street, up to half of which can be used to retain existing COPS officers; $350 million for new crime fighting technology, like police department computer upgrades and crime lab improvements; and $200 million for community prosecutors, who will work hand in hand with community police officers to prevent, investigate, and prosecute neighborhood crimes.

"The COPS program is a proven winner, cutting crime and making neighborhoods safe in New York City, the Tri-State Area, and across the nation," said Rep. Weiner. "This legislation will keep the COPS program going at full strength, keeping police officers on the beat. That’s good news for police, for families, and for communities small and large throughout our country. The only ones helped by the Bush COPS cut will be the criminals."

In 2001, researchers from the University of Nebraska and the Southwest Texas State University developed a formula to measure the impact of COPS on crime. The Biden – Weiner study uses the researchers formula to measure the impact of COPS in the nation’s 500 largest cities.

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