The per capita ratio of police to civilians in Iceland is considerably lower than in the United States and many other countries.
About half of Iceland’s population lives in the greater Reykjavík area. RÚV reports that on average, there is less than one cop on shift for every 10,000 Icelanders in the capital region at any given time. That ratio changes considerably from district to district.
There are three to four police officers on shift in two patrol cars for every police station in the capital area, with the exception of the police station on Hverfisgata, which has about 50% more cops on duty. Each police station attends to about 43,000 to 65,000 people.
In fact, the police station in Kópavogur oversees not just Kópavogur but also the east Reykjavík neihbourhood of Breiðholt. There are only four cops on duty at any given time at this station, which oversees some 60,000 people.
While Iceland’s small size, about 1000th the population of the United States, might contribute to these numbers, even the per capita ratio is considerably lower than the US by comparison. There are in fact just over 21 cops for every 10,000 Americans on average.
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