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Cost-Benefit Analysis Theory regarding law enforcement

What is a cost-benefit analysis and who should be responsible for conducting one?  When is the most appropriate time in the budget cycle to conduct the analysis and why?  Should each cost be subjective to a cost-benefit analysis? Why or why not?  We already are the leanest staffed law enforcement agency in the county," Capt. Gary Wedge said. "As we continue to eliminate positions, it’s becoming more difficult." According to officials Chula Vista Police Department had 230 sworn officers, and laying off 33 officers would save the city an estimated 4 million annually (Boehnke, 2010). Do the ones making the decisions know the value of the decision they just made? After all individuals are the ones who made the decisions to lose the officers? Where does the rational thinking come? As with utilarian the greater good

“Cost-benefit analyses indicate that there is too little enforcement today, and that it would be highly cost-effective to increase enforcement substantially“ (Elvik, 2001, p.73). Police enforcement is an effective measure to ensure people abide by the law. While cost-benefit analyses indicate that the benefits to society of more police enforcement would greatly exceed the costs, these analyses do not by themselves constitute an adequate basis for planning enforcement in detail. It may not be possible to set priorities for enforcement strictly on the basis of cost-benefit analyses. Setting priorities strictly according to such analyses might result in some types of violations never being enforced at all. It is, however, necessary to have a certain minimum level of enforcement of all types of violations in order to prevent them from becoming legalized by default (Elvik, p.74).

Cost benefit analysis or benefit cost analysis is a method or process in which estimation concerning best practices in business transactions is conducted. In this process, best practices like cost saving and time saving are determined through analysis conducted to achieve the best practices any business should adopt. It is through this that cost benefits and evaluation of an effective project can be analyzed and results presented for an effective business enterprise. A project can be determined if its effective or it would be a failure through this process and different projects could be analyzed and compared to arrive at the best among the different projects being selected (Boardman, 2006).

  Cost benefit analysis is mainly conducted by managers of the business so as to evaluate all possible benefits that can be yielded from that business in case a certain project is implemented and the project in this case should be subject to the minimum cost possible. The outcome of the analysis conducted determines if the project is the right choice or that the manager should consider another project that is much more effective than the project already analyzed.

  A cost benefit analysis should be conducted before the implementation of any project. This will affect the budget being laid down in the project. In any given project after identification comes in the analysis and information stage where one seeks information concerning the project and it is in this stage that one should seek to know the budget and this will help to avoid any financial constraints that might be experienced leading to failures or shortcomings in a given project. Most costs incurred in the implementation of a project should be subject to a cost benefit analysis so as to avoid any losses due to unplanned financial constraints or moral hazard where the available finance is not well implemented. It would always be advisable to apply a cost benefit analysis for an effective business or to yield more benefits in form of profits.


Boardman, N. E. (2006). Cost- benefit Analysis: Concepts and practice (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle   River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

Boehnke, M. (2010). Tempe considers laying off police officers to cut costs. AzCentral.Com. Retrieved from http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2010/01/14/20100114tr-pdbudget0120.html

Mikesell, J. (2011). Fiscal administration, analysis and applications for the public sector (8th ed.). Boston, MA: Wadsworth/Cengage.

Elvik, R. (2001, March). PDF] Cost-Benefit Analysis of Police Enforcement - VTT ... Retrieved from virtual.vtt.fi/escape/escape_wp1.pdf - Similar

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