Arguably, the society for many decades has become an avenue of criminal activities. As a matter of fact, many strategies, models, and styles have been developed to reduce and eliminate crime in the society. Community policing is one of the strategies implemented in many states in order to deal with crime within the neighborhoods. Crime has great influence in the development of a nation; in fact, it affects all aspects of life, namely economic, social, as well as political. In most cases, community policing is often called foot patrol, and it has continuously become the subject of research and debate from various perspective. Several studies have been carried out on how the public and business people view community policing, as well as its effectiveness in crime reduction (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1994). Perhaps, community policing is one of the frequently abused and misunderstood concept in the department of police management in the 21st century. In the police department, there is consensus on the fact that community policing is very effective in controlling as well as eliminating crime, especially in residential neighborhoods. The strategy is based on community-police reciprocity. This implies that, the police and the public work together in preventing crime from taking place, and solving crime issues.
Origin of community policing
Undeniably, community policing has slowly been evolving for many decades since 1960s when the civil rights movement exposed the limitation of the traditional model of policing. The origin of community policing is traced to police-community crisis. Since then, community policing has been influenced by several factors over time. Perhaps, one of the articulations of the past that later became community policing philosophies is traced to Skolnick’s case of California at San Francisco Police Department’s Community Relations Unit. Fundamentals of community policing of improving community-police relations began from social and political upheavals that surrounded civil rights movements. Widespread protests and riots against racial injustices in the society brought the attention of the government to investigate the sources of tension, and racial discrimination. Critically, the origin of community policing is attributed to the research that was carried out in the 1960s and 1970s in United States (Samaha, 2005).
In fact, the most crucial thing that necessitated the origin of community policing is the social upheaval. In order to respond to the social upheaval and unrest, the Administration of Justice, as well as President’s Commission on Law Enforcement of 1967 recommended that police should become more responsible and responsive to the challenges facing the society. This challenge has tremendously changed the society. The 1970s manifested the era characterized by professional policing. Standardized hiring and testing in conjunction with employment of criminal investigation technique led to increment of professionalism among police. In fact, the introduction of 911 emergency systems gave the public a chance to measure police effectiveness, especially in call response. Since its formation, community policing has undergone a transformation in its name, function, strategies and policies. It began as police-community relations, team policing, and finally community policing respectively (Palmiotto, 2011).
Background information why community policing was formed and by who
Consequently, the concept community policing is as old as any organized policing in the world. Community policing in the past was formed for various reasons, of which it has undergone tremendous changes since it began in the late 1960s. The crisis of 1960s that involved the police and the citizens triggered the formation of community policing. The main aim forming community policing was to make the public feel safer and make life look better. Hence, this move will led to reduction of crime in the community. Moreover, other initiatives of community policing during this era included downtown foot patrol. These goals and efforts formed part of the early models of community policing that was emulated in the entire country. In the early 1960s, community policing was formed to reduce the crime rate especially by reducing despair (Palmiotto, 2011). In fact, the police in this case, provided social services in ameliorating various challenges that was effaced by minority group in the community. During this early era of community policing, it was difficult for police to clearly elaborate on which strategy and method to use in serving the minority groups. In fact, the dilemma was to maintain the picture of the police and equally satisfy those individuals who depended on their service.
Another reason why community policing was formed was to increase the trust and relations between the community and the police. Additionally, community policing was meant to reduce discrimination of police against race during their execution of their duties. People in society had different notion about the police presence and it was high time to ensure that the relationship between the community and the police was peaceful. Police also viewed that crime in the neighborhoods could only be reduced with the help of the community. Certainly, involving the community became the best option. Moreover, community policing was formed to increase the level of optimism in the criminal justice system (Gaines & Kappeler, 2012). Kelling and Wilson developed the idea of community policing in the year 1960s when they proposed the Broken Windows Thesis. Their ideas sparked the development of several police tactics and strategies. The modern form of community policing is attributed to Sir Robert Peel. He developed several innovations in the police force, whereby most of it is practiced today. In fact, the formation of LMPD (London Metropolitan Police District) in the year 1829 marked a new era in modern law enforcement.
Importance of community policing
Conversably, the existence and increase of crime is society heightens the need for law enforcement. Despite the fact that police are there to provide security and maintain law and order, the public must also be involved in policymaking. Community policing grants the residents an opportunity to be part of the local police by being active in combating crime. Therefore, community policing is very important in society today (Palmiotto, 2011). Advocates and stakeholders for community policing emphasize on various reasons that make community policing important. As a matter of fact, community policing does a lot of things to the community, either directly or indirectly. The importance of community policing benefits the community, as well as police (Mirsky, 2009).
Community policing empowers and mobilizes the community in responding and identifying various issues in society. In fact, community policing gives the community an opportunity a voice to propose on how they want to be policed within the neighborhood. Traditionally, police have always had the final say in selecting the style and manner of policing in the community. In most cases, these strategies differ from one neighborhood to another, leading to conflicting scenarios. Therefore, with community policing in place, the community is part of the decision making because they are in partnership with the police. Public participation in community policing ensures that the values, norms, and beliefs of the neighborhood are incorporated in policing techniques. In fact, it strengthens differential policing because of variation of neighborhoods (Samaha, 2005).
Community policing is important because it improves the perception of the public on police activities. Mostly, the public have a stereotypic view on police, in that they are viewed as bad people. But since the introduction of community policing, the police is part of the community and the community is part of the police. This partnership has improved the relationship between the public and the police. The crisis and conflict that use to arise between the police and the citizen has been decreased (Gaines & Kappeler, 2012).
In addition, community policing is important because it reduces crime rates in society. Before the introduction of community policing in various states, drug barons and gangsters ruled the neighborhoods. But, the introduction of community policing reduced crime rate significantly. Undeniably, community policing led to better spread of information between the police and community (Mirsky, 2009). Moreover, community policing improved the implementation and formation of crime control and crime prevention activities, this was because of cohesive partnership between the police and the public. The realization of community policing in the community has improved the administration of justice.
Beneficiaries of community policing
Community policing benefits several individuals, organizations, and the state. Analytically, community policing has an impact on every individual in society. The beneficiaries are influenced either indirectly or indirectly depending on the type of benefit. Specifically, community policing benefits the community, police, government, as well as citizens. The benefits of community policing is achieved by these individuals is political, social, or economical. Hence, there is the need to allocate money and labor to sustain and implement community policing in the neighborhoods (Bureau of Justice Assistance, 1994). Community policing is beneficial to these groups through crime reduction, police-community relationship, crisis reduction, security improvement, flow of information, and development of trust between residents and police. Hence, through critical analysis it is evident that community policing benefits everyone in the community. Recent studies show that there is a tremendous increase in public response on issues related to community policing. The increase shows that community policing is influencing the lives of many people in the neighborhoods.
What community policing represent today compared to what was originally
In the past, community policing received a lot of criticism and resistance; this was because many people had little understanding on its importance. In the society today, people have realized the need and importance of community policing in the neighborhood. In fact, community policing in the 21st century is a global affair. Many nations have implemented community policing. Today, criminal justice systems and police department have widely accepted community policing across various regions (Gaines & Kappeler, 2012). Stakeholders believe that community policing is the best option in crime reduction and decrease in police-community crisis. Community policing originally was a simple philosophy, but it has evolved to become a complex issue in the police department. Primarily, community policing was viewed as a police department trying to open up to the public in asking for opinions to be incorporated in the operation of the police philosophies. Today, community policing is more than the police, it entails being part of the neighborhoods, and how to impart them. Many agencies have joined the police in working together with the community to address crime prevention, improvement of life, and safety matters. Some of the principals of community policing today include vision, accountability, leadership, change, partnership, equity, problem solving as well as trust (Palmiotto, 2011).
Conclusively, community policing has become part of the society today. Despite the fact that it leads to increased number of arrests, it should be analyzed based on the benefits it brings to society. In 21st century, criminal activities have tremendously risen; hence, many stakeholders believe that community policing is the best option in crime reduction and decreased police-community crisis. Consequently, perceived importance include a decrease in citizen-police clash, decrease in crime, improve community environment, as well as increase in fairness and accountability. The foremost target of community policing is communication policing, crime prevention, community building, as well as peace preservation. The central parts of police-community relationship are confidence, trust and teamwork. The success and sustainability of community policing will fully depend on coming together of community and police.
Bureau of Justice Assistance (1994). Understanding Community Policing. A Framework for
Gaines, L & Kappeler, V. (2012). Community Policing. A Contemporary Perspective. London:
Mirsky, I. (2009). Community Oriented Policing. Internet Journal of Criminology.
Palmiotto, M, (2011). Community Policing: A Police-Citizen Partnership. London: Springer.
Samaha, J. (2005). Criminal Justice. Belmont: Wadsworth