Maintaining law and order is a core function of the state government.
The law and order portion of the budget was $207.4 million in fiscal year 2016. This includes the Attorney General, Defender General, Judiciary, States Attorneys and Sheriffs, Public Safety (State Police etc.) and Center for Crime Victims.
If you add the cost of corrections, which is housed in the Agency of Human Services, the total annual cost of law and order in Vermont is closer to $358 million, representing the fourth largest cost of the state government.
Each year, the FBI publishes the Uniform Crime Report covering every state in the country. Vermont’s crime profile for 2015 is outlined below.
Incidence of Crime in Vermont: 2015
Source: 2015 FBI Uniform Crime Report
There were 11,183 arrests made in Vermont in 2015. DUI’s accounted for 2,144 arrests, drugs for 610, larceny for 1,176 and assaults for 1,202. DUI’s were the largest single category.
In 2016, there were 9,809 prisoners in Vermont’s correction system with 1,036 employees to look after them with a total cost just in excess of $150 million in 2016. Vermont’s prisons are full to the brim; so a few hundred convicts need to be outsourced to other state prison facilities.
Here is the good news. Vermont has the lowest crime rates in the country, both for violent crime and property crime.
Vermont’s violent crime rate in 2015 was 99.3/100,000 residents. To put this in some perspective, Alaska has the highest violent crime rate at 635.8/100,000, followed very closely by Nevada and Tennessee.
Vermont’s property crime rate, also the lowest in the country, is 1406.6/100,000 residents, suggesting that Vermonters have only a 1.4% chance of being robbed or vandalized. Long may this last.