Bridgeport, CT

Here is a look inside the most recently adopted budget in Bridgeport. You can use the calculator below to adjust each budget line to see how dollars allocated to the police could be reduced. The numbers included below represent monies coming from the city’s general fund alone. There may be additional funding sources—federal, state, or local—that were not clearly noted in the police department’s section of the city’s budget book. (You can learn more about Vera’s data sources and methods here.)

Calculate how your city could save money on policing

City budgets can be notoriously opaque documents and difficult to compare across municipalities. Budgets include the city’s anticipated expenditures and revenues (money coming in from taxes, fines and fees, state and federal funds, etc.) for functions such as sanitation, parks, libraries, roads, and, of course, policing. The general fund typically represents unrestricted revenues that can be used for any legal purpose.

Spending on policing overwhelmingly comes from the general fund. While a budget reflects a municipality’s political and moral priorities, police spending can be very difficult to cut given the strength of police unions.

For each city, we have compiled FY2020 data about the adopted budget and spending on policing. Explore the data and calculate how much the city could have saved if it made different allocations.

There isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to re-envisioning public safety. However, limiting police interactions and investing in community-based interventions are crucial to providing for public safety in a way that’s less intrusive, more just, and more constructive. By reducing the size and budget of the police department, those savings can be invested in creating alternatives to policing, reengineering 911 systems so that the police aren’t the first responders to every call, and funding community-based programs, education, housing, jobs, and more.

Overpolicing communities of color

The growth of police budgets and departmental expenditures do not make communities safer. Instead, this allows police departments to increase force size, militarize equipment, and sustain high arrest rates—practices that are unjustifiable given the non-serious, nonviolent nature of the vast majority of incidents that police respond to. This is not an approach that prioritizes public safety; it is an approach that criminalizes and oppresses people of color, especially Black people.

In 2018, the Bridgeport Police Department made 3,748 arrests. Like most departments around the country, the majority of these arrests were not made for serious violent incidents, but instead for low level offenses. In fact, 89 percent of the 3,748 arrests in 2018 in Bridgeport were made for non-serious non-violent charges. These arrests are often made in response to situations that do not require police presence.

The burden of this overpolicing primarily falls on communities of color. In Bridgeport, Connecticut, Black people were arrested at a rate 1.37 times higher than white people. For non-violent, non-serious incidents, Black people were arrested at a rate 1.37 times higher than white people. Of these arrests, those for drug possession and disorderly conduct are two examples of situations that allow for a lot of officer discretion in choosing whether or not to arrest a person. On these specific charges, the Bridgeport Police Department arrests Black people at rates 1.16 and 1.42 times higher than white people, respectively.

Vera's analysis of arrests in 2018, presented here, uses data drawn from the National FBI Uniform Crime Report (UCR) database. To see how arrest numbers have changed over time, and how they compare to arrests made in other cities, visit Vera's interactive data tool Arrest Trends.