National Sheriffs' Association Law Enforcement Priorities Survey

Top Priorities for Law Enforcement

  • Most Americans consider preventing and investigating violent crimes and enforcing criminal traffic laws as top priorities for local law enforcement in their communities.
    • Nine in ten Americans assign high priority to preventing and investigating violent crimes, while just 2 percent believe that this enforcement activity should be given low priority.
    • Close to two-thirds of respondents believe that enforcing criminal traffic laws should be a top priority for law enforcement. Nearly one-third gave moderate priority to this activity, while 4 percent showed low concern.
    • Enforcement of immigration laws is deemed a high priority among two in five respondents, while just over a quarter attach low priority to immigration enforcement.
  • Compared to the other activities outlined in the study, enforcing a ban on menthol cigarettes is not a pressing matter to most Americans. Less than one in five (18 percent) respondents prioritize the enforcement of a menthol cigarette ban, while a majority places low priority on this activity.
  • In terms of smoking behavior, smokers and non-smokers largely agree on what should constitute the top priorities for local law enforcement. Nine in ten smokers and non-smokers view violent crime prevention as a top concern for police, while around two-thirds attach high priority to enforcing criminal traffic laws.
  • At the same time, the two segments diverge on the value of enforcing laws concerning menthol cigarettes. Non-smokers are nearly twice as likely to prioritize a menthol ban as smokers, 21 percent to 12 percent.
  • Meanwhile, smokers place a higher priority on enforcing immigration laws and preventing and investigation less crimes than do non-smokers.