Local law enforcement agencies are primarily concerned with preventing and offering solutions regarding crimes that have visible and immediate impact to local community. These are crimes such as theft, robbery, rape, assault, and burglary. However, the threat of future acts of terrorism is real and can affect the homeland security. However, the practice of community policing to with regard to homeland security and counter-terrorism can offer secure environment for local communities in order to improve the quality of life for the citizenry.
Just like the traditional crimes, terrorism is a national as well as a local issue. As such, there is a shared responsibility among the federal, state, and local governance structures. It is noteworthy that terrorism and traditional crimes are intricately related. Consequently, domestic and international terrorists are well trained and organized and usually resemble the traditional criminal groups (Forest 202). Terrorist groups usually engage in crimes such as money laundering, identity theft, drug trafficking, and fraud in order to provide the necessary resources for terrorism. Accordingly, the investigative method to a terrorist network is similar to that of traditional criminal networks. Such similarities and considering that community policing strategies have had profound impact in addressing traditional criminal networks illustrate that adopting the community policing values would provide a unified transformation towards addressing the crimes related to terrorism and terrorism as a whole. Considering the foregoing, the security agencies at the local level must be equipped with skills to enable them analyze actions related to terrorism, perform risk analysis, and develop appropriate responses. Accordingly, the homeland security must ensure to incorporate the foregoing efforts in the department’s mission, goals, and objectives.
The practice of community policing can be applied to the homeland security and counter-terrorism through various approaches. These approaches include training law agencies to develop analytical skills. Such skills will enable them to understand the nature and dynamics of terrorist groups. Decentralizing decision-making would empower the police in liaison with the local community to follow leads or alleged terrorist activities. This strategy would help to identify and neutralize terrorist activities within the local community hence improve homeland security. Further, improving and facilitating neighborhood watch programs would engage volunteer citizens to enhance detection of terrorism activities. This is because citizens are encouraged to report suspicious activities within their immediate localities. The neighborhood watch can also be used to increase terrorism awareness and preparedness. The foregoing strategies would provide a dynamic approach to homeland security and counter-terrorism and would address the prevention, gathering of intelligence, and sharing of information.
Forest, James. Homeland Security: Public spaces and social institutions. Greenwood Publishing