National Security Spending Plans Asked To Be Redesigned
Anti-terrorism funds are being spent in the wrong places, according to a number of mayors, police chiefs and security experts. In a recently released report, these sources say the money is going toward towns and cities for emergency equipment that rarely gets used while cash-strapped police struggle with crime.
Seven years after Sept. 11, some are asking the government to re-examine spending hundreds of millions of dollars on bomb robots, chem-bio suits and equipment that often go unused.
“The simple truth is that average Americans are much more likely to find themselves victims of crime than of terrorist attack,” the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) says in a new report that calls on the next president to shift money back to crime fighting.
Since 2003, when the Homeland Security Department was created, the government has given states and cities $22.7 billion for emergency preparedness. Controversies have always existed on how to spend the money. Big cities complained that too much was sent to remote towns; police complained that they couldn’t use it for overtime.
According to USA Today, this is the first time officials have called for a complete re-evaluation of the grant system.
The IACP says, since the 2001 attacks, 99,000 people have been murdered in the United States and 1.4 million are the victims of violent crime each year. “In terms of day-to-day crime fighting, we’re far worse off than we were before 9/11,” IACP’s Ronald Ruecker says.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors also is challenging Washington’s priorities. Since 2001, spending on local policing has been cut 81 percent while an average of 34 people are gunned down every day. “If al-Qaeda were responsible for 34 deaths a day in the United States, the nation would do whatever was necessary to stop the deaths,” the mayors said in an open letter to the next president.
Homeland Security’s Laura Keehner told USA Today that police may need more money, but “we reject the view that enough has been done on Homeland security.”