A Decade of Police Spending on Cape Cod

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Police spending is often the subject of debate in town halls across the country. The implications of the funding or lack thereof can be significant to the safety of the communities impacted. In Barnstable County, police expenses make up a significant component of overall town spending, but what Cape Cod towns invest the most in this vital service?

As indicated in the chart below, the towns with the highest per capita police spending were Truro at $852 followed by Provincetown and Wellfleet, at $792 and $556, respectively. The town with the lowest per capita police spending was Falmouth at $203.


Source: Pioneer Institute’s MassAnalysis website


In 2020, police spending in Truro represented 11.3 percent of its total expenditures, the highest of any Cape Cod town. On the other hand,  Falmouth spent only 4.6 percent of its budget on police, the lowest level on the Cape.

It’s interesting to note, though, that per capita police spending hasn’t risen across the board on the Cape. In fact, five towns reported lower per capita spending since 2010, Sandwich had the largest decrease at 68 percent, followed by Bourne, Harwich, Barnstable, and Falmouth. 

Some of the other Cape towns reported sizable gains in per capita police spending. Provincetown took the lead at $792, a 363 percent growth in per capita spending followed by Truro, Wellfleet, and  Eastham, all of which experienced per capita growth well above 100 percent.

Truro, Provincetown, and Wellfleet spent the most  per capita on their police services, and also had the highest growth in per capita spending since 2010. Barnstable and Falmouth spent the most in raw dollars, with both well over 100 million. Despite this, both towns had a contraction in per capita spending since 2010, having declined by 24 percent and 16 percent, respectively. Overall, the majority of towns saw spending grow since 2010, with police expenses above 5 percent of total expenditures.


About the Author:

Etelson Alcius is a roger perry transparency intern with the Pioneer Institute. He is a recent graduate of  Cathedral High School and incoming freshmen at the College of the Holy Cross, where he intends to double major in economics and computer science on a prelaw track. Feel free to reach out via email, linkedin, or write a letter to Pioneer’s Office in Boston.