Policing plays an important part in crime reduction and law enforcement strategies. Thus, the police have a significant say in what elements receive the crime tag and which offenses deserve prioritization. Amidst this organization are a series of approaches that aid in ensuring efficiency in policing. This essay focuses on problem-oriented policing and community-oriented policing as two of the top-most trends.
Community-oriented policing (C.O.P) is an ideology that incorporates the traditional elements of law enforcement with problem-solving, prevention measures, community partnerships, and engagement. The goal of this ideology is to establish ties and work closely with community members in implementing strategies aimed at crime reduction. Community policing developed on the failures of its team policing alternative. It connects both stakeholders to identify and address various crime issues. Thus, rather than responding to emergency calls and conducting arrests, the officers under C.O.P involve community members in establishing the causes and solutions to crime within their respective areas. The primary element of C.O.P is its concentration on crime prevention. It reveals this aspect by encouraging a community-police partnership through neighborhood watch (Grinc & Sadd, 1996).
The pros and cons of C.O.P are as follows. First, the officers acquire the ability to spend additional time with community members when identifying solutions to crime and social disorder. Second, given the intended improved communication, officers increase their effectiveness in the use and share of information with members of the public. Third, officers with a proper insight into their community have the ability to link people with agencies in solving community concerns. Fourth, the combined C.O.P effort helps in restoring neighborhood safety. Contrarily, C.O.P could give rise to power struggles especially for individuals who join the program with ulterior motives. Second, individuals have a tendency of overusing policing by fabricating a crime to achieve constant police presence. Finally, some people remain uncooperative because there is no need for unnecessary police presence (Grinc & Sadd, 1996).
Finally, the following are three examples of C.O.P programs in the United States as outlined by San Diego PD. First, the Neighborhood Watch is a pioneer C.O.P program that teaches members of the public to identify and report suspicious activity in the neighborhood. The program’s point of concentration revolves around the importance of awareness and observation in crime prevention. Second, the Citizen’s Patrol program uses groups within the city of San Diego to conduct similar functions as the Neighborhood Watch. Finally, the Drug Abatement Response Team includes homeowners, tenants, housing inspection department, the police, and the city attorney in identifying homes with a history of Narcotic activities (San Diego PD, 2016).
Clarke (2002) describes problem-oriented policing (P.O.P) as a policing strategy that concentrates on finding solutions to a persistent problem within a community. Unlike C.O.P, P.O.P focuses on specific issues, and the achievement of crime reduction results as opposed to overall policing. In this strategy, officers identify, assess, and respond to prevailing circumstances deemed as the cause of the incident under focus. The ideology behind P.O.P is that there are causes attached to every problem. Thus, the officers will use available information as part of the response. The strategy is all about research and analysis as an important component of the crime prevention procedure and the engagement of private and public organizations in solving community problems (Clarke, 2002).
There are various pros and cons of P.O.P, some of which are as follows. First, P.O.P focuses decentralizing the decision-making process from station managers to frontline officers. These agents have a good chance of understanding the causes and solutions to problems. Second, P.O.P concentrates on the essence of intelligence gathering and analysis in policing as a way of responding to crime. However, the analysis of such information may not be as accurate as under C.O.P tactics. The second most major con of P.O.P is that crime has a way of relocating to other places. Weisburd et al. (2008) refer to this situation as crime displacement. In this case, officers do not address the macro-level crime causes and rather concentrate on micro-level elements (Weisburd et al., 2008).
The following two cited examples help in illustrating the P.O.P strategy. First, P.O.P saw the police, city council, and community collaborates to tackle gang and drug crimes in Meadowbrook and Skyline. These efforts resulted in the development of an organized community and a further reduction in crime rates. Second, the SDPD (2015) cited a trolley station as a prime location for violent crimes and gang-related activity. The local department appointed a police squad to collect information on this phenomenon to reveal that the station design played a significant role in determining the level of crime in the area. Given this information, they advised the board to help redesign the station (SDPD, 2015).
Challenges in the implementation of C.O.P and P.O.P
The major implementation challenge for C.O.P and P.O.P strategies is resistance from some officers and community members in its development process. Second, there exists limited involvement hence less support from funders and public agencies. Third, the officers may fail to understand the objectives of both strategies. In the end, they misinterpret them as less productive, conferring to the status quo, and time-consuming. Finally, the average citizen may lack adequate knowledge about P.O.P and C.O.P programs. They would be reluctant to participate in activities that attract cynicism and retaliation (Grinc & Sadd, 1996).
The above review shows that both P.O.P and C.O.P are applicable in a variety of situations and problems. The primary lesson is that these strategies target the reduction of a series of social issues from drug crimes to gang-related violence. For instance, C.O.P establishes ties in which cops collaborate with community members in implementing strategies aimed at crime reduction. Contrarily, P.O.P focuses on particular problems and the attainment of crime reduction results as opposed to generalized policing.
Clarke, R. V. (2002, June 10). Problem Oriented Policing, Case Studies . Retrieved from NCJRS : https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles1/nij/grants/193801.pdf
Grinc, R., & Sadd, S. (1996). Implementation Challenges in Community Policing Innovative Neighborhood-Oriented Policing in Eight Cities. Retrieved from NCJRS: https://www.ncjrs.gov/txtfiles/implcp.txt
San Diego PD. (2016). Community Oriented Policing. Retrieved from San Diego PD: http://www.sandiego.gov/police/about/community.shtml
SDPD. (2015). Problem Oriented Policing. Retrieved from San Diego Police Department : http://www.sandiego.gov/police/about/problem.shtml
Weisburd, D., Telep, C., Hinkle, J., & Eck, J. (2008). The effects of problem-oriented policing on crime and disorder. Retrieved from Campbell Systematic Reviews : file:///C:/Users/user/Downloads/1045_R.pdf