Community-based Policing: The Future of Law Enforcement

Community-based Policing: The Future of Law Enforcement

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Thesis:Community-based policing provides hope for the future of Law enforcement.

I. Introduction to C.B.P.
A.The roots of C.B.P.
B.So what is community?
II.The two elements of C.B.P. law enforcement
philosophy are:
A. Community partnership.
B. Problem solving.
III. The reaction of police to change.
IV. The future of C.B.P.
A. A first step in C.B.P.
B. Measuring success.
C. Crime prevention.
V. Conclusion.


"In Philadelphia, a pulsating tavern juke box that has caused irate neighbors to
log 500 Police calls in six months, was moved away from a common wall with the
adjoining building.@ (Author unknown US News) The calls stopped. Though it seems
simple, such a move is at the heart of what we know as Community-based Policing.

The movement toward C.B.P. has gained momentum in recent years. As Police and
community leaders search for more effective ways to enhance the sense of public
safety and the quality of life in their communities. We have accepted C.B.P in
one police department after another,and we are ready now to agree that "C.B.P.
provides hope for the future of Law enforcement." We can trace the seed of C.B.P.
back to Sir Robert Peel, the father of the modern Police system, who said "the
Police is the public and the public are the Police"(Braiden). For different
reasons, the Police lost sight of that principle defining their relationship
with the public. Modern historians have said that the reform era in government,
which started in the 1900's to combat corruption, along with the move toward the
professional image of police work, resulted in the separation of Police and
Community (Kelling, Moore, pg-5)

Reform style Policing emerged in the 50s and 60s with rotating shifts and
frequent movement of officers, (to prevent corruption). Random patrolling (a
reactive police technique) was also detrimental to the link between Police and
public. The police adopted a policy of centralized control to ensure compliance
with set standards, and to encourage a professional aura of impartiality. All
these policies along with the use of automobiles, telephones, and other
technological advances helped distance the Police more. The calls for service
increased as urban population and crime awareness increased, making the police
almost totally reactive. The introduction of computers only encouraged that
false idea of "quick" reactive response and a statistical view toward measuring
success in policing(rather than analyzing the local needs of the community.)

By the late 70's the communities had become a diverse pool of nationalities,
subcultures, and attitudes. People identified themselves as parts of separate
groups and at times the Police was not part of what they called "us.@ During
this time, a burst of new ideas and changes in the sociopolitical and economic

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structure began to occur that would eventualy,bring about a new kind of police

In this changing environment, all social institutions were scrutinized. The
Police, slow and overburdened, were losing ground rapidly. Police leaders felt
the need to reflect on these problems and their overall relationship (their
image) with the public. In their attempts to understand what was going wrong,
many studies and experiments were sponsored. One of them, the "KANSAS STUDY"
proved that, no matter how many police officers are devoted to random patrolling,
there is no effect on the actual crime rate. (Bureau of justice asst. pg. 13-65)

The government had recognized the problems of crime fighting and the problems of
Police - Community relations, as far back as 1967.The Presidents Commission on
Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice report: The Challenge of crime in
a free society, called"for the creation of a new kind of police officer.@

Almost thirty years later that idea of a "new kind of police officer" has
provided a whole new model for Policing. It is an evolutionary and not
revolutionary philosophy that attempts to refocus the essence of policing to "a
Law Enforcement (philosophy) that tries to do two things: first bring police
officers and citizens together in neighborhoods. Second give the Police
responsibility for solving problems in the community.@ (Wilson pg. 21) As stated
above the new Law enforcement philosophy incorporates two elements: Community
partnership and Problem solving. These two elements are the cores of the
policing strategy for the future of American large communities( inner cities )
and other high crime areas. The way to achieve the results promised by C.B.P.
is through constant education and the application of the two elements of C.B.P.

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP means adopting a policing perspective that exceeds the
standard Law enforcement emphasis. This broadened outlook recognizes the value
of activities that contribute to the orderliness and well being of a
neighborhood (community). These activities could be helping accident or crime
victims, improving emergency medical services, helping resolve domestic and
neighborhood conflicts, controlling automobile and pedestrian traffic(Bureau of
Justice assistance pg. 15)

The two major functions of the Community partnership are to keep the two
parties communicating, and to assess the level of fear ( of crime )in the
community. To avoid high level of fear in the Community Problem solving
techniques are utilized in the daily contact of Police and Public and through

PROBLEM SOLVING is the second part of C.B.P., the philosophy behind it is based
on the assumption that "crime can be reduced by studying the individual problems
and by applying the proper resources"(ECK XVI-XVII)and that"when people make
choices based on the opportunities presented by the immediate physical and
social characteristics of an area, by manipulating these factors people will be
less inclined to act in an offensive manner"(ECK XVI-XVII) So "Problem Solving"
involves bringing problems of the community to the right persons attention;
Hopefully, resolving that problem, so it will not get worse or create other
problems. An example of a tool used in "Problem Solving" is what is called the
"broken window" theory which suggests that an abandoned, or non-maintained
house (or community) will attract disorder or mischief and the criminal element.
Through "Problem Solving" the window is fixed, deterioration is prevented and
the community is safe once more. Like any other part of C.B.P. "Problem Solving"
requires a lot of communication, compromise and information exchange in order to


Despite the optimism of C.B.P. proponents it has not been accepted as the mature
successor to the Reform Model of the Sixties. The Police have a difficult time
dealing with the contradictions that exist within them; this also restricts them
from achieving their newfound goals. The Police being a paramilitary
organization, it is difficult to encourage flexibility and creativity (that
strict supervision stifles), and still insure that the incorrupt image is

The reactive instinct of the Police will also have to be curtailed, the so
called "tyranny of 911" has to be controlled and although some reactive or
emergency services will be necessary they have to escape the tyranny of the 911
services in favor of reliance to the community and the new model along with
mutual trust.@ (Sparrow chapter 4) It will take some time for the movement from
"just the fact=s ma'am" to a more caring police officer who is a social worker,
councilor and law enforcer.


A first step in C.B.P. is a plan of action or a statement of beliefs and goals
that will provide direction and make values become actions and behaviors. C.B.P.
is only a philosophy or a statement of value, nuts and bolts are worked out
later by setting goals and objectives unique for each community, aiming to
achieve your value statement. The change in values that is in the heart of C.B.P.
must be pursued in order to achieve success, because once the first excitement
goes, and the first difficulties arise, the statements of value that have been
adopted will be the guiding light that will provide the solutions.

In order for C.B.P. to be evaluated and its success determined two things need
to be done, first day to day work evaluations need to change and adapt to c.b.p
goals, second c.b.p. should be accepted and a commitment to increase man power
if necessary should be made.

There is a distinct difference between C.B.P. and other models of policing and
that is the way we can measure success, "measures such as crime rates, arrest
rates and response times are obsolete, A(Moore 10)"these numbers have little
to do with community needs and they only represent serious committed crimes and
not the increase of public disorder (or fear) or other so called non
priorities"(Kelling pg. 21-21)

To know if C.B.P. is working, we need to know; are we solving problems instead
of reacting to them? Are police officers encouraged to leave their patrol cars
and cooperate with the public? Do we have streets free of drug dealers, rowdy
teenagers, soliciting prostitutes, predatory criminals, graffiti or drive by
shootings? In conclusion C.B.P. is striving to build stronger more self
sufficient communities, in which, crime and disorder do not thrive.

Effective C.B.P. has a positive impact on reducing neighborhood crime, helps
reduce fear of crime, and enhances the quality of life in the community; It
accomplishes this by combining the efforts and the resources of the police,
local government, and community members. Crime prevention takes on renewed
importance in C.B.P. AND the community becomes a partner to law enforcement in
order to address disorder and neglect or other problems that can breed serious

As links between the police and the community are strengthened over time, the
partnership is better able to pinpoint and mitigate the underlying causes of

Following all these principles we can at least attain a new sense of community
and at best we can make true the vision of Sir Robert Peel "It should be
understood at the outset that the object to be attained is the prevention of
crime. To this, great and every effort, of the police is to be directed. The
security of person and property and the preservation of a police establishment
will thus be better affected than by the detection and punishment of the
offender after he has succeeded in committing the crime" . . . (Braiden 120)


Braiden, Chris. "Enriching traditional police roles" Police management: Issues
and perspectives. Washington, DC. Police executive research forum 1992, Pg.

Eck, John E. and William Spelman," Problem solving: Problem oriented policing"
in Newport      News. Washington, DC: Police executive research forum, 1987 Pg

Kelling, George L. and Mark H, Moore "The evolving strategy of policing"
Perspectives on policing .Washington, DC : National Institute of Justice and
John F. Kennedy School of Government. Harvard University Pg 4-5

Kelling, L. George " Measuring what matters :a new way of thinking about crime
and public order".The city Journal, Spring 1992, Pg 21-22

Moore H. Mark and Geoffrey Albert " Measuring police performance " in John
Dijulio Sr, et al Justice System Performance measures :Princeton University
Bureau of justice discussion series (forthcoming)

Moore H. Mark and Malcolm K. Sparrow, David MacKennedy ABeyond 911: A new era
for policing.@ Chapter 4

Wilson Q. James " Can the bureaucracy be deregulated? " in John Dijulio Sr
ed, Deregulating the public service : Can the government be improved?(Washington,
DC. Brookings Institution Press Jan 1994 Chapter draft pg 21,54)

Magazine : Us News and World report Aug 2 1993. Title: Beyond " Just the facts
ma'am "Author unknown

Presidents commission on Law Enforcement and Administration of Justice ,
Title : The      challenge of      crime in a free society (Washington, DC: US
Government printing      office, 1967 Pg 97-103)

Bureau of justice assistance Publication: Understanding community policing " Aug
1994 Chapter 3 Pg 13,15
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