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Does Law Enforcement Get Laid Off When the Crime Rate Drops?

In most industries, when there’s a drop in activity in that industry, people get laid off. For example, lots of title companies laid people off when the real estate market slowed down and there were fewer closings. When people buy fewer cars, autoworkers get laid off. Sadly, in this economy, one sees quite a few examples of this phenomenon.

Recent reports of a drop in crime got me wondering, what happens to law enforcement if the crime rate drops? If, for example, there were a 50% decrease in people using drugs in the country, would half the DEA agents get fired? What if it were a 10% drop?

Or, instead, would law enforcement just push for prosecution of more marginal cases? Perhaps folks who they would have decided aren’t appropriate for prosecution would now be thought of as public enemies.

Law enforcement is a competitive business. Federal agents can reasonably fear losing funding for their jobs if they don’t bring in the statistics to justify their positions. Would they push for more marginal prosecutions to keep bread on their table? Would you?

This is, perhaps, a little fanciful, but I wonder, is there a single example of a prosecutor’s office or law enforcement department losing staff because of a drop in the crime rate? If not, why not?

If you have questions about how federal criminal charges are different than state criminal charges, please visit this page on Maryland federal criminal charges or Washington DC federal criminal charges.

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