Wording it another way: evaluating policing costs on a population basis means you are looking at the costs of residential policing. This probably is a pretty fair evaluation in suburban areas because residential uses are by and large the majority. However, it's entirely unfair in urban areas because there is a HUGE range of uses that don't have a population figure attached to them (i.e. not residential) but do have policing costs associated with them (commercial offices, bars, Moosehead games, etc. etc.).
Evaluating costs based on assessed value seems a slightly more fair and accurate way of doing it, because assessed value roughly takes into account all those other things (areas with events, commercial business, etc., are more valuable) and because assessed value also gives a better idea of whether an area is "pulling its weight" in terms of paying for that police service. For example:
House A: Policing cost of $10, assessed value of $200k
House B: Policing cost of $10, assessed value of $400k
House B is the "better" development (from a municipal financial sustainability POV) because it's paying more taxes for similar policing costs. I don't have the data to tell you if house A and B are in the suburbs and urban area, or vice versa, but I think that's the more fair analysis that does need to be done (and to my understanding that's the gist of what the Stantec report does, though I haven't had the time to read through it yet).
Well of course police are less busy in low density areas because they have less to police. Read my comment again:
"Policing in urban areas isn't just about policing people's homes, but also about policing related to the higher concentration of commercial uses (which many of the people in the suburban areas work in), policing related to special cultural events, policing related to bars and other late night activities, and policing related to the concentration of traffic coming from those suburban areas for employment and to experience the cultural amenities of the urban areas."
You just don't have those things (to any large degree) in suburban areas, so the police don't need to police them. That doesn't make suburban areas better though. Yeah I guess we could imagine a hypothetical situation where we deleted all the bars, special events, and commercial businesses from the urban areas; police costs would plummet, but our city (the city that even the suburbanites use and benefit from!) would suck.
Policing costs per person doesn't seem like a particularly useful or informative metric. Policing in urban areas isn't just about policing people's homes, but also about policing related to the higher concentration of commercial uses (which many of the people in the suburban areas work in), policing related to special cultural events, policing related to bars and other late night activities, and policing related to the concentration of traffic coming from those suburban areas for employment and to experience the cultural amenities of the urban areas.
I'd be more interested in comparing policing costs per dollar of assessed value in suburban vs. urban areas. That would certainly give a metric of an area's ability to pay for the costs it incurs, and may better illustrate whether suburbs or urban areas are "better" (at least in relation to policing costs).
Who is Debra Moore?
Deepak Chopra is a hack who peddles woo. He has set society back many years in terms of rational thought and action. The Coast, I'm ashamed for you that you put him on your cover.
Thanks for the update, Tim. I find these "week at city Council" articles really informative.
Pyritic slate is neutralized by seawater. Since it needs to be disposed of from excavations elsewhere, we build new land with it. As far as I know the only two approved sites are Kings Wharf and Bedford. It's a pretty sweet deal for the developers of those areas because some other developers are basically paying to create land for them.
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