What Policing Costs

A Look at Spending in America’s Biggest Cities


Modern day police departments are among the most powerful local government agencies—and much of that power lies in their funding. As protests against police brutality and the overpolicing of Black communities sweep the country, people are demanding cutting police department budgets.

The message is clear: now is the time to spend less on policing and more on communities.

To explore the cost of policing at the local level, Vera compiled data from the fiscal year 2020 adopted budgets of 72 of the biggest cities across the United States.

The table below presents fiscal year 2020 overall policing budgets, the percent of city funds allocated to police departments, the number of city dollars per resident allocated to the police, and the number of police employees per city resident. Clicking on each column allows you to sort the data to see how your city compares to others.

Learn more about Vera’s methodology and data sources.