Community- Oriented Policing (COP) is a philosophy that promotes organizational strategies, which support the systematic use of partnerships and problem-solving techniques, to proactively address the immediate conditions that give rise to public safety issues such as crime, social disorder, and fear of crime. (http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Community-Oriented+Policing). Community based policing is comprised of three key components; * Community Partnerships- Collaborative partnerships between law enforcement and the public they serve, to develop solutions while increasing the bond and trust in police. * Organizational Transformation- Organizational management, structure, personnel, and information systems to support community partnerships, to also create proactive problem solving techniques. * Problem Solving- Engaging the proactive and systematic examination of identified problems to develop and evaluate effective responses.
The goal of Community-Oriented Policing is to bring the police and public it serves closer together, to identify and address crime issues. Instead of officers only responding to emergency calls and making arrests police officers in community based programs get involved in finding out what causes crime and disorder within that particular community. To do this, officers must develop and maintain a network of personal contacts both inside and outside their agency. This contact is usually inquired by foot, bike, or horse. The most important part of COP is keeping your relationships with the public on good terms. Communities need to feel like they are safe and that they can fully trust law enforcement once that’s broken the community might not want to help thus increasing crime. Another very important part of COP is crime prevention. The public is encouraged to partner with police in these efforts through neighborhood watch programs. This allows the public to watch over a certain area since officers can’t always be there.
Community-Oriented Policing has many, strengths and only few weaknesses. COP adopted a more responsive approach to the public desire of a different manner of policing; therefore there was a citizen to police interaction which has helped in problem solving. This has been enhanced by the reintroduction of the foot patrols similar to the political era. Community policing can be looked at as a philosophy that has much emphasis on the citizens to police working relationships in solving crime related problems, crime prevention and fear reduction . These types of programs also create awareness in communities in three ways. One, a criminal will know the area has a cooperation agreement with the residents and the police to be aware of any suspicious activities. Two, residents can count on each other to look out for their well-being and safety against criminal activity or suspicious persons. Third, public relations between residents and police are developed through these types of programs, which also provides education to the residents about police and court procedures.
However, one major weakness of this era is the failure to act timely on potential agents of crime despite having adequate information and activities of such agents; this is because, despite the vast resources that have been invested in the force there is that weakness. There are challenges in high crime areas, lack participation because residents are suspicious of each other. In areas of transients, those residents plan to live in the area for a short time and are not interested in long term involvement. Another weakness COP presents is inadequate training on COP principles and strategies, which affects how officers approach their work. Greene (2000) notes that COP training is usually an add-on to traditional training: COP was not even part of the picture when most training curricula were developed, and it appears that most programs offer less than 1 weeks’ time to prepare officers for this new way of policing.
Since COP may require police to use skills not necessarily part of traditional training curricula—for example, building community relationships and fostering citizen involvement—the lack of training can impede effective implementation. (http://www.ojjdp.gov/mpg/progTypesCommunityProblem.aspx). When implementing community based policing we must first properly train and equip the officers with the correct training. We know police officers are supposed to deal with the public on a daily basis but gaining trust and bonds with the community is something they do not do. These are the biggest weaknesses in COP. Most people stick to themselves and mind their own business, a lot of people don’t think crime can happen in their neighborhood and that’s where they are wrong. I think officers need to try to better get the message out to communities to implement neighborhood watch programs and other things to get the community together and be made aware of what can happen and how to deter crime. Some criminals will see neighborhood watch signs and stray away while others won’t care.
Problem oriented policing is a policing strategy that involves the identification and analysis of specific crime and disorder problems, in order to develop effective response strategies in conjunction with ongoing assessment. Crime has resulted in property damage, destroying lives and communities. Herman Goldstein a professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison called for a shift in the police officers policing methods. Under his method police would deter crime by becoming proactive instead of reactive. Under his new method police officers would look at underlying problems in the “hot Spots” where the crimes occurred. Police officers would then implement ideas to deter and reduce crimes in those areas. In 1987 John E, Eck and William Spelman created the SARA Model. The SARA Model is commonly used by Police departments to identify and solve problem areas in communities. In SARA “Scanning” is the first step and it requires police to identify and prioritize potential problems in their area.
The “A” stands for analysis, This step includes what time the particular crime is committed, what location, who are the likely offenders, In addition, evaluating their environmental design characteristics. Analysis also allows the Police to utilize crime mapping and other resources, so the proper responses can be manifested. The third step, response has the police develop and implement interventions designed to rectify the problems. The final step is assessment, which involves evaluating the impact of the response and what good has been accomplished The strengths of Problem Oriented Policing are that it encourages Police Officers to work closely with the community to achieve the goals of the community. POP has over two decades of documented success in reducing crime rates in particular areas.
One area in particular is Boston. The Police Officers utilizing the Problem Oriented Policing strategy led to a decline in gang violence there. The weaknesses of Problem Oriented Policing are that it displaces crime to other areas. One example of this is cars being stolen in a neighborhood. In the neighborhood the Police Officers identify the problem and consult with the community to solve the problem of the car thefts in their community. They decide to add more patrols to deter the car thieves. The car thieves see the additional patrols and move on to another community raising their crime rate and dropping the crime rate of their previously targeted neighborhood. Most of the time Police Officers are not concerned about crime unless it is in their jurisdiction so when crime spreads to other areas they tend to let the law enforcement office in that area handle the situation, It can also be very stressful on police officers to be dedicated to solving the community’s problem while still answering police calls.
Police Officers not involved in the POP program are often left picking up the slack by answering more calls. Community Oriented Policing and Problem Oriented Policing share some of the same characteristics such as they both require the Police Officers to establish a good relationship with the community and they both aim to make crime extinct. They also both require Police Officers to be knowledgeable of their program. They both call for innovative ideas to combat and deter crimes. The differences of Community Oriented Policing and Problem Oriented Policing is that the Problem Oriented Policing unlike the Community Oriented Policing focuses on hot spots and particular crimes that are pointed out by the community as a priority. Community Oriented Policing utilizes programs such as neighborhood watches to patrol areas and the Problem Oriented Policing uses Police Officers to patrol. Some problems that may arise when using Community Oriented Policing and Problem Oriented Policing is that they require officers to be trained on the programs and some departments, may not have the proper resources to train their staff.
Another problem is the Police Department might not have the proper funding or personnel to achieve the community’s expectations. Also Police Officers participating in COP or POP often at times leave their fellow Police Officers to pick up their slack by answering more calls. Communities might not contribute enough to the program to make it a success which could contribute to rising levels of crime. In conclusion Problem Oriented Policing and the Community Oriented Policing are good strategies used to combat, deter, and eradicate crime if used correctly. They both have documented success in the United States. Both policing methods require that the community become involved with combating crime in their community. These policing methods will succeed with an involved community and an enthusiastic Police Department. Although they do relocate crime to other areas they can have even more success if they work with other communities and other Police Departments.