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A case study of the effects of the service population on crime and the officer ratio in Orlando, Florida

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Abstract

Crime reflects the character of society and annual crime rates published by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in the uniform crime report (UCR) in the USA are a basic indicator of safety in a community. Additionally, the police-residential population ratio is the traditional measure of the level of police protection in a community. Although these historical measures are widely accepted, the literature is void of one very important dimension that influences these measures in many communities: service population. Succinctly, service population considers several characteristics outside of a community's residential population such as homelessness, tourism, and daily commuting of workers into a city. In one of the top tourist destinations in the USA, Orlando, Florida, the service population has a profound effect on annual crime rates and the sworn officer ratio. This article highlights and discusses Orlando's service population formula while illustrating the significant differences between residential population and service population measures. The scientific confirmation of the population's effects on police organisations is illustrated in a structural equation model and a strong argument is made for the necessity to begin the discussion of a standard service population formula when analysing crime rates and officer ratios.

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