October 10, 2001 | News Releases on Department of Homeland Security

Eliminating Wasteful Programs Could Help Fund Anti-Terrorism, Analyst Says

WASHINGTON, Oct. 10, 2001-Congress could free more than $2 billion for the war on terrorism by eliminating Justice Department programs that are ineffective or more appropriately funded by state and local governments, a new Heritage Foundation paper says.

At present, says David Muhlhausen, a policy analyst in Heritage's Center for Data Analysis (CDA), Justice is requesting $4 billion for the Office of Justice Programs and Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) -- eight times the amount it has requested for anti-terrorism activities.

"This despite the fact that every study that's been done of COPS can show no link between it and reduced rates of violent crime," he says. "What makes it worse is that it comes at a time when every dime is needed for homeland defense."

According to studies conducted by CDA, COPS grants for hiring officers and purchasing technology -- which has cost more than $8 billion to date -- have had no statistically measurable effect on crime. The CDA study reviewed crime statistics from 742 counties that received COPS grants.

Though the Clinton administration had promised the program would fund 100,000 new police officers, the research shows that only about 57,000 have been hired. "Even the Department of Justice has had to admit that simply putting officers on the street with no plan for how to deploy them has proven ineffective," Muhlhausen says.

"It would be better, especially during this national crisis, if Congress took immediate steps to redirect all or a substantial portion of the $1 billion it has appropriated for COPS in fiscal year 2002, which began Oct. 1, to the Justice Department's counter-terrorism efforts," he says.

Congress also plans to spend some $2 billion on other programs aimed at assisting local law enforcement and crime prevention efforts. "Recipients of these grants should be required to demonstrate their effectiveness in reducing crime," Muhlhausen says. "If they can't, let local and state governments fund them if they desire, and free up this money for anti-terrorism.

"Even in the best of times, any program that spends taxpayers' money should be measured vigorously for effectiveness. But now more than ever, the nation can't afford to waste valuable resources on misplaced priorities and ineffective programs."

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