The 10 Most Over-Policed Cities in America

police cars in Washington, D.C.
ungvar / Shutterstock.com

This story was written by Kathy Morris and originally appeared on Zippia.com.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average police officer earns a healthy $65,400 a year.

This steady salary is an above-average income that comes with relatively low training requirements and heaping benefits, including the increasingly envy-inspiring pension. However, each city and police department has its own pay, requirements and size.

And the number of police department employees per citizen can vary dramatically by city. Some have a staggering 101 police employees per 10,000 citizens, while others only have one-tenth of that number.

We evaluated 353 cities to find the cities with more than their share of police employees.

We used the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting data to determine the number of police officers, as well as the total number of police department employees per 10,000 residents, in the 353 cities.

The more police employees to citizens, the more policed a city is. We excluded all departments with fewer than 100 officers.

Large Northeastern cities and tourist hot spots make up the bulk of the top 10. Keep reading to see the scope of the police departments in the top 10 cities.

10. Chicago

Chicago police officer
FeyginFoto / Shutterstock.com

Number of police officers: 11,954
Total number of police employees: 13,135
Police employees per 10,000 residents: 48.2

Chicago has the second-largest police force in the nation with 11,954 officers. When you add in support staff and others, the Windy City employs 13,135 police department workers. That’s 48 police employees for every 10,000 residents.

9. Newark, New Jersey

police officer at a protest in Newark, New Jersey
a katz / Shutterstock.com

Number of police officers: 1,113
Total number of police employees: 1,383
Police employees per 10,000 residents: 49.1

In ninth place we have Newark, New Jersey. The city of Newark has 49 police employees for every 10,000 residents.

8. Wilmington, Delaware

Wilmington, Delaware, police motorcycle
Joseph Sohm / Shutterstock.com

Number of police officers: 302
Total number of police employees: 360
Police employees per 10,000 residents: 49.9

Wilmington is the eighth-most over-policed city in the nation. Wilmington’s police department employs 360 people.

7. Philadelphia

Market Street in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
4kclips / Shutterstock.com

Number of police officers: 6,313
Total number of police employees: 7,995
Police employees per 10,000 residents: 50.9

Philadelphia has the fourth-largest police force in the nation with 6,313 officers. The city has 51 police employees for every 10,000 Philadelphians.

6. St. Louis

The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri
KENNY TONG / Shutterstock.com

Number of police officers: 1,194
Total number of police employees: 1,632
Police employees per 10,000 residents: 51.9

In sixth place is St. Louis, Missouri. The Gateway City has 1,632 police employees — which comes out to 52 police employees per 10,000 residents.

5. Miami Beach, Florida

Police patrol car in Miami Beach, Florida
EQRoy / Shutterstock.com

Number of police officers: 394
Total number of police employees: 492
Police employees per 10,000 residents: 52.8

Miami Beach, Florida, is known for its beautiful beaches and top-notch resorts. However, as you’re enjoying the city, the chances are good you’ll see more cops than in other cities. Miami Beach has 53 police employees per 10,000 residents.

4. New York City

New York City police
Steve Sanchez Photos / Shutterstock.com

Number of police officers: 36,228
Total number of police employees: 51,399
Police employees per 10,000 residents: 60

In fourth place is New York City. The Big Apple has a hefty 60 police employees for every 10,000 residents. New York City is a fairly safe city with lower-than-average violent crime. However, it has the largest police force in the nation, with 36,228 officers. To put that into perspective, New York City has more police officers than Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, has residents.

3. Washington, D.C.

Police car in Washington, D.C.
Allison C Bailey / Shutterstock.com

Number of police officers: 3,753
Total number of police employees: 4,352
Police employees per 10,000 residents: 63.9

Washington, D.C., is the third-most over-policed city in the nation. The Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia has 4,352 employees. While 64 police employees per 10,000 residents is significantly less than the No. 2 city on this list, it is still far greater than most other cities.

2. Myrtle Beach, South Carolina

Police and parametics in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina
StacieStauffSmith / Shutterstock.com

Number of police officers: 219
Total number of police employees: 300
Police employees per 10,000 residents: 94.2

Myrtle Beach is in second place. This beach-side city has 94 police employees for every 10,000 residents. Like the No. 1 city on this list, Myrtle Beach is a vacation favorite. How much of police officers’ time is spent wrangling tourists?

1. Atlantic City, New Jersey

Steel Pier in Atlantic City, New Jersey
ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

Number of police officers: 278
Total number of police employees: 397
Police employees per 10,000 residents: 101.3

Atlantic City is the most policed city in the U.S., with a staggering 101 police employees for every 10,000 residents. That is a little over 1 police employee to every 100 residents. Why are there so many police employees compared to the number of residents in “America’s Playground”? While we can only speculate, the steady stream of tourists and short-term guests might be part of the reason for its ginormous police department.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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