Community Policing is a policing approach aimed at helping fight crime and build rapport between police and local communities concurrently. It is quite different from the typical, or traditional, policing. The typical policing is commonly employed in urban zones by municipal agencies that are deemed highly responsive.
Community policing entails the assignment of groups of police officers to particular neighborhoods. It is hinged on the thinking that the presence of the officers in the neighborhoods, working with the populations they serve, deters crime. As well, it is hinged on the thinking that residents who find the officers approachable and amiable are highly likely to share with them security-related information and intelligence, ultimately lowering crime levels.
In some localities, community policing is effective as a supplement to traditional policing. Such localities have police officers on patrols cars and others on foot, interacting with citizens in their day to day activities. For instance, the combination of the two forms of policing define the Impact Program of the New York Police Department (NYPD).
Facts on Community Policing
Community policing is commonly christened foot patrolling. Police officers partaking in it patrol neighborhoods on foot. They are repeatedly assigned to patrol particular neighborhoods on foot. That ensures that they personally interact with the populations in their assigned localities. As the officers patrol the localities, their presence is significantly heightened in the localities.
As an approach of enforcing law, community policing is rather public and positive. It is positive on the public in the sense that it entails gently coordinated collaborations between law enforcers and communities, or residents. The collaborations help form strong bonds, or linkages, between the law enforcers and the communities.
Community policing helps in problem solving by building effective community-police relations. Police officers develop assistive partnerships with the populations, or neighborhoods, they serve. Through the relations, the majority of community concerns, as well as the related solutions, are identified via problem-solving. Notably, the diligent appraisal of the concerns and formulation of appropriate solutions to them reduces incidences of disorderliness and crime in communities.
Community Policing Strengths
Community policing is better in preempting crime than traditional policing. Community policing ensures that citizens and police collaborate closely in crime prevention. The citizens and police emphasize on preventing criminal acts prior to their happening. That ensures that only a limited number of possible crimes materialize.
Community policing is better than traditional policing as regards the promotion of the safety of the public and communities’ living standards. That is because it ensures that everyone partakes in protecting community welfare. In community policing, policing objectives are broader in scope than in traditional policing. It is preventive and reactive while traditional policing is only reactive.
Community policing transforms policing structures and their management. That helps in the building up, as well as strengthening, of communities by linking police departments to them. The community becomes an added resource to the police for tackling crime.
Community policing allows officers to wholly appreciate the profiles of communities they serve and potential criminals within them. Community policing allows for direct contact between citizens and police, as they all move around same neighborhoods. The police get ample opportunities to know the citizens. The citizens get opportunities to develop confidence in police.
Community policing persuades the allocation of more and more public resources to police work. Through community policing, neighborhoods may pull together resources and commit to the work. Resources donated by neighborhoods supplement the ones committed by the government to the work (Watson, Stone & DeLuca, 1998) .
Community policing, unlike traditional policing, helps unravel and address the root causes of criminal activities within given communities. Officers understand the factors that possibly give rise to the activities within their assigned communities. Does traditional policing expressly allow officers to engage communities in establishing such factors? Does it principally focus on arresting suspected criminals?
Counterclaims are Invalid
Those opposed to community policing argue that its success is dependent on the trust that citizens have in police. Is it possible that communities develop trust in police? Is community trust in police attainable. Even though the success is dependent on the trust that citizens have in police, the trust is and can be grown over time.
Other persons opposed to community policing contend that communities, citizens may not care. This contention has no basis since the policing is premised on communities working closely with police. When communities are engaged in community policing programs, it is not possible that they will not care about the programs (Ahlin & Gibbs, 2012; Goldstein, 1990).
Other pessimists contend that community policing worsens relationships between the police and citizens. That argument is not factual since as an approach of enforcing law, community policing is rather public and positive. It is positive on the public in the sense that it entails gently coordinated collaborations between law enforcers and communities, or residents. The collaborations help form strong bonds, or linkages, between the law enforcers and the communities.
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