How Big is the Columbus Police Force?

Police departments nationally have been in the news quite a bit lately, but usually not for positive reasons. Excessive force, racism and even murder charges have been levied against police. While it is difficult to measure such incidents within individual departments, we can at least look at how big police departments are relative to a city’s population, and that’s what this post is about.

I looked at Columbus and its peers and Midwest counterparts to see where it ranked in terms of police presence within the city limits. Here is what I found.

Total Law Enforcement Officers, 2012

Chicago, IL: 12,766
Las Vegas, NV: 4,814
Jacksonville, FL: 2,972
Detroit, MI: 2,883
San Antonio, TX: 2,883
Milwaukee, WI: 2,577
Austin, TX: 2,252
Charlotte, NC: 2,196
Columbus: 2,138
Kansas City, MO: 1,869
St. Louis, MO: 1,866
Indianapolis, IN: 1,813
Cleveland: 1,709
Nashville, TN: 1,637
San Jose, CA: 1,435
Portland, OR: 1,195
Cincinnati: 1,113
Minneapolis, MN: 983
Virginia Beach, VA: 955
Pittsburgh, PA: 947
Omaha, NE: 943
Orlando, FL: 931
Sacramento, CA: 861
Wichita, KS: 821
Toledo: 674
Madison, WI: 555
Providence, RI: 517
Akron: 461
Dayton: 415
Youngstown: 196
Canton: 163

Law Enforcement per 10,000 Residents, 2012
1. St. Louis: 58.6
2. Chicago: 47.1
3. Cleveland: 43.4
4. Milwaukee: 43.0
5. Detroit: 40.8
6. Kansas City: 40.3
7. Orlando: 37.8
8. Cincinnati: 37.6
9. Jacksonville: 35.4
10. Las Vegas: 32.5
11. Pittsburgh: 30.3
12. Youngstown: 29.4
13. Dayton: 29.2
14. Providence: 29.1
15. Charlotte: 27.2
16. Austin: 27.0
17. Columbus: 26.8
18. Nashville: 26.4
19. Minneapolis: 25.2
20. Toledo: 23.6
21. Madison: 23.4
22. Akron: 23.2
23. Omaha: 22.6
24. Canton: 22.4
25. Indianapolis: 21.6
26. Virginia Beach: 21.3
27. Wichita: 21.2
28. San Antonio: 20.9
29. Portland: 20.0
30. Sacramento: 18.1
31. San Jose: 14.7

So now that we know the size of the police force in these places, does the size have a correlation to crime rates?

Here is the violent crime rate for the same year as these stats, 2012. The rank for police force per 10K people is listed beside the violent crime ranking.

Violent Crime Rate per 100K People and Law Enforcement Rank per 10K People
1. Detroit: 2,122.9 #5
2. St. Louis: 1,776.5 #1
3. Cleveland: 1,383.8 #3
4. Milwaukee: 1,294.5 #4
5. Kansas City: 1,263.2 #6
6. Nashville: 1,216 #18
7. Indianapolis: 1,185.5 #25
8. Toledo: 1,171.9 #20
9. Orlando: 1,017.4 #7
10. Minneapolis: 992.2 #19
11. Cincinnati: 974.7 #8
12. Dayton: 973.7 #13
13. Akron: 886.6 #22
14. Youngstown: 809.2 #12
15. Las Vegas: 784 #10
16. Pittsburgh: 752 #11
17. Wichita: 742.5 #27
18. Sacramento: 738.6 #30
19. Charlotte: 647.9 #15
20. Providence: 636.9 #14
21. Columbus: 630 #17
22. Jacksonville: 617.3 #9
23. Omaha: 594.5 #23
24. Portland: 517.2 #29
25. San Antonio: 503.1 #28
26. Austin: 408.8 #16
27. Madison: 377.7 #21
28. San Jose: 363.3 #31
29. Virginia Beach: 169.4 #26
30. Canton: 28.6 #24
Chicago: N/A

Based on the ranking above, which cities are getting the best bang for their police force? That would be cities with a larger police force ranking (by at least 2 spots) than violent crime ranking. These would include: Orlando, Cincinnati, Youngstown, Las Vegas, Pittsburgh, Charlotte, Providence, Columbus, Jacksonville, Austin, Madison, Virginia Beach and Canton.

On the opposite end, the cities with failing police levels vs. violent crime include those places with a higher violent crime ranking than police ranking (by at least 2 spots). Those are: Detroit, Nashville, Indianapolis, Toledo, Minneapolis, Akron, Wichita, Sacramento, Portland, San Antonio and San Jose.

Finally, the cities with violent crime ranked about where their police size is include St. Louis, Cleveland, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Kansas City, Dayton and Omaha.

So Columbus is in the best category. Its violent crime ranking is 4 spots lower than its law enforcement ranking size, meaning that police in Columbus are performing better than average. Let’s just hope they’re doing the right, legal thing when policing.

For more information and other cities, large and small, check out this link: http://www.governing.com/topics/public-justice-safety/gov-cities-with-the-greatest-police-presence-most-officers-per-capita.html