Police chiefs from around the country are expressing fears that crime rates will increase as law enforcement resources are cut during the economic downturn. In Sacramento, California, homicides are up 43% and assaults on police officers are up 13%, while the department was forced to eliminate its vice unit. In Phoenix, Arizona, a lack of funds is causing police vacancies to go unfilled. Similar concerns were expressed by police chiefs in Maryland and Virginia. Chuck Wexler, Executive Director of the Police Executive Research Forum, said, "For the longest time, people thought that the police didn't matter, didn't affect the crime rate. Now we've seen that's not true." The Research Forum said that law enforcement agencies experienced an average cut of 7% this year. In the past, improved policing led to dramatic drops in homicides in such places as New York City and Washington, D.C. Now those gains are in jeopardy. Budget reductions in Sacramento forced the city to cut important government programs and services, such as mental health services and job training programs for inmates being released from prison. Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are also in decline.