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Community Policing and Its Key Components

There are compelling reasons why law enforcement leaders believe the time has come to alter the policies, procedures, and practices of the organization. These reasons are based on the changing nature of communities, and the shift of crime and violence that affect these communities. Police strategies that worked in the past are not always effective today. The desired goal of an enhanced since of safety, security and well-being has not been achieved. Both level and nature of crime in this country are causing police to seek more effective methods of dealing with these problems. Many communities are experiencing serious problems with illegal drugs, gang violence, murders, and burglaries. In this rapid, changing environment where police cope with increased levels of violence, the concept of community policing is taking form. The community needs to take a more stronger stand against crime and

violence and make a commitment to increasing crime prevention. The police must help build stronger, more self-sufficient communities in which crime and disorder will not thrive. By mapping crimes based on problems that exist in the community, one study revealed that 10% of victims are victims in 42% of crime, 10% of offenders commit 55% of crime, and 10% of locations are involved in 60% of calls. Thus, a change needed to be made in how the community and the police worked together toward preventing crime and disorder. Community policing consists of three key components: community partnership; problem solving; and organizational transformation. To develop community partnership, the police must develop positive relationships with the community, and must involve the community in the efforts for better crime control and prevention. The police must also pool their resources with those of the community to address the most urgent

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concerns of the community members. Community policing differs from traditional policing in how the community is perceived and its expanded policing goals. While crime control and prevention remain the priority, community policing strategies use a wide variety of methods to address these goals. The police and the community become partners in identifying problems of crime and disorder that can eventually lead to more serious crimes. As links between the police and the community are strengthened over time; the partnership will be better able to define the underlying cause of the crime. The idea that if you get the community on the side of the police, they will help to prevent crime. Police are finding that crime control tactics need to be geared toward preventing

crime, reducing the fear of crime, and improve the quality of life in neighborhoods. Fear of crime has become a significant problem in itself. A highly visible police presence helps reduce fear within the community. Officers working in the same areas routinely will become a familiar face to community members and will become aware of the day-to-day workings of the community. When the police have established a relationship of trust with the community that they serve, the community will be more forthcoming with helpful information and they will be more willing to participate actively in policing. By getting the community involved, police will have more resources available for crime prevention instead of being forced into an after-the-fact response to crime. It is only when community members believe the police are genuinely interested in their perspectives and problems will they begin to view the police as a part of their community. If the community feels their actions will jeopardize their safety, they tend not to act. By using some of the expertise and resources that exist within communities, it will relieve the police of some of their burdens. All those that work and live in the community and have a stake in its development from local government officials; schools; churches;

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hospitals; businesses; and the media; each share responsibility for finding workable solutions to problems that affect the safety and security of the community. All who share a concern for the welfare of the community should bear responsibility for protecting that welfare. Community partnership encourages the use of the 911 system only for true emergencies. Many calls to the police are not police related and could be more effectively handled by other agencies. As the number of nonemergency calls decrease, the benefits to the community increases as it will allow the police to spend more time in the community and will restore the safety of neighborhoods and businesses. In this police/community partnership, problem solving will become a cooperative effort. Determining the underlying causes of crime depends on an in-depth knowledge of the community. It requires the police to think more like a criminologist in terms of defining the root causes of the problem. Problem solving can involve eliminating the problem entirely or their underlying

conditions. A problem created by these conditions may generate one or more incidents. For example, an abandoned building can provide an atmosphere conductive to crime. It may generate burglaries or acts of vandalism. These incidents are symptoms of the problem. These incidents will continue as long as the problem that created them exists. Problem solving strategies are used by the community and the police to develop a method to respond to problems. The SARA model is a commonly used problem solving method. It involves a four-step process. The SARA model contains the elements of scanning, analysis, response and assessment. In scanning, the problem is identified. Analysis looks at alternatives to the problems. Response develops solutions to the problem, while assessment evaluates the results and adjusts the solutions as necessary. Because community policing represents a change in the way police do business, organizational transformation may be needed. This change may

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involve all aspects of the police organization. It looks across the whole organization to discover how it can improve the way it operates. . The entire police organization must be structured, managed, and

operated in a manner that supports the efforts of the police and that encourages a cooperative approach to problem solving. Greater decision making is given to those officers closest to the situation. It is with this expectation that this change will improve the overall performance of the department. Strategic planning modifies the organizational structure to better meet goals. The mission and value statement of the organization should be an example for which officers follow. Also, the policies and procedures of the organization need to reflect the interest of the community that they serve. In conclusion, it is necessary to have each key component in order for community policing to be successful. Based on Sir Robert Peel’s ninth principle as it applies to community policing, “the test of police efficiency is the absence of crime and disorder, not the visible evidence of police action in dealing with it.” Community policing bears a promise for a better future as the community and the police work toward preventing crime and disorder.

Work Cited Page

1. “Community Policing”. Colonie.org. Colonie Police Department. http://www.colonie.org/police/commpolice.html 2. “Community Policing Defined”. Cops.usdoj.gov. Office of Community Oriented Policing Services. E030917193. http://www.cops.usdoj.gov/files/RIC/Publications/e030917193-CPDefined.txt 3. Fleissner, Dan and Fred Heinzelmann. “Crime Prevention Through

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Environmental Design and Community Policing”. National Institute of Justice. August 1996. http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/crimepre.pdf 4. Sparrow, Malcolm K. “Information Systems and the Development of Policing”. National Institute of Justice. Volume 16. March 1993. http://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/139306.pdf 5. Zarka, Heather. “Community Oriented Policing Vs. Problem Oriented Policing”. Associated Content. 6 June 2007. http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/267335/community_ori ented_policing_vs_problem.html?Cat=17

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