Local police protection options for Pennsylvania municipalities: a quantitative analysis of determinants
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Type of Workx, 244 leaves
DepartmentUniversity of Baltimore. College of Public Affairs
ProgramUniversity of Baltimore. Doctor of Public Administration
RightsThis item may be protected under Title 17 of the U.S. Copyright Law. It is made available by the University of Baltimore for non-commercial research and educational purposes.
Pennsylvania is divided into 2,562 separate municipalities which provide local services to their residents. With the exception of the 56 cities within the State, municipalities have the option to either provide police protection to their residents or rely on the State for police protection. For the municipalities that choose to provide police protection to their residents, they can do so through a traditional police force serving a single municipality or in collaboration with neighboring jurisdictions. Through an analysis of existing literature it has been determined that the provision of police services is most economically and programmatically efficient when forces serve between 22,350 and 36,000 residents. Below this level, increasing the population served by a police force results in savings per resident served. Above this level, increasing the population served results in increase in the cost per resident served. The average traditional police force in Pennsylvania serves 3,932 residents while the average regional force serving multiple municipalities serves an average of 10,549 residents. The vast majority of the 1,180 police forces in Pennsylvania serve far fewer residents than is optimal while nearly 2.5 million Pennsylvanians or twenty percent of the State's 12.7 million residents rely solely on the state police for local protection which is significantly larger than the optimal range. The purpose of this research is to determine the extent that the decision to provide protection to residents, as opposed to relying on the State, is consistent with an empirical model based on factors derived from the literature. The extent that municipalities that provide protection to their residents independently versus doing so in collaboration with other jurisdictions will then be compared to separate empirical mode. The first empirical model, focusing on reliance on the State versus offering protection to residents, is based on two assumptions: first, municipalities with a high need for police protection would be more likely to provide protection to their residents and second, municipalities that are more able to absorb the cost of police protection would provide the protection. The second empirical model, focusing on the differences between municipalities that provide protection independently versus doing so in collaboration, is based on three assumptions: first, smaller municipalities would be more likely to collaborate if they provided protection, second, municipalities with a greater number of nearby municipalities would be more likely to collaborate, and third, municipalities that have greater demographic similarity with their neighboring municipalities would be more likely to collaborate and would likely have the most to gain from a collaboration. Both models were tested utilizing binary logistic analysis utilizing seven predictor independent variables obtained from the US Census, the American Community Survey and State published information regarding crime rates and municipal spending. After the development and testing of the initial empirical models derived from the literature, the first model was expanded to reflect 26 variables identified to have statistically significant differences and the second model was expanded to reflect 14 variables. The analysis of the first model confirmed the association between a municipality's ability to afford police protection and the municipality's likelihood of providing protection to residents. It did not confirm the anticipated link between the need for police protection and the likelihood that a municipality would provide protection. The analysis of the second model confirmed the association between a municipality's size and the likelihood that a smaller municipality would be more likely to provide protection in collaboration as opposed to providing protection independently. It did not confirm the anticipated link between a higher number of nearby municipalities and the likelihood of collaboration and a higher level of demographic similarity and the likelihood of collaboration. The inability to confirm the link between the need for police protection and the likelihood that a given municipality would provide protection identifies an opportunity to focus education and incentives on encouraging the municipalities with the greatest need for police protection to establish or join existing forces. The inability to confirm the link between a higher number of nearby municipalities and a higher level of demographic similarity and the likelihood that a given municipality would collaborate in providing police protection identifies an opportunity to focus education and incentives to encourage the municipalities with the greatest opportunity for success in collaboration to explore opportunities to collaborate.