Only three big cities in America get worse returns on investment into their police forces than Huntington Beach, according to new national rankings.
Personal finance website WalletHub.com just released “2016’s Cities with the Best & Worst ROI on Police Spending,” which has Huntington Beach at No. 101, followed by Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Fremont, California; and the worst, Washington, D.C.
To assess how efficiently the country's 104 most populated cities spend taxpayer dollars intended to protect the public, WalletHub’s analysts calculated each city’s ROI (return on investment) on law-enforcement spending based on crime rates and per-capita expenditures on police forces after normalizing the data by poverty rate, unemployment rate and median household income. “In presenting our findings, it is important to underline the fact that 'efficiency' is different from 'overall safety,' which does not account for spending rates,” the site notes.
For instance, Huntington Beach has a low crime rate at 2.97 percent, the ninth best in America, according to WalletHub. But its per-capita spending rate of $440 lands at No. 77.
When it comes to individual metrics, Huntington Beach also has the fifth lowest poverty rate, but just to show how that doesn't help in the overall rankings, Fremont is singled out by WalletHub for having the lowest poverty rate. Detroit has the highest. Fremont (No. 1) and Huntington Beach (No. 3) also crack the top five for highest median incomes, and Detroit at No. 104 finishes at the bottom there, too.
Asked for a reaction to the study, Captain Russell Reinhart, the Huntington Beach Police Department spokesman, told the Weekly: “They do this report annually, it is neither academically or scientifically based. They could easily choose different variables to 'normalize' the numbers and we would be at the top.”
Don't tell that to Akron, Ohio, which does find itself at the top of the WalletHub list. The highest ranking California city is Fresno at No. 12.
Other Orange County cities that were ranked are Santa Ana (77) and Anaheim (86). Long Beach is at No. 92.
Santa Ana's 2.62 percent is ranked as the fourth lowest crime rate, just ahead of Los Angeles.
Wait … what?