How Does Community Policing Work?

Expanded Policing Goals

Crime prevention takes on renewed importance in community policing as the police and the community become partners in addressing problems of disorder and neglect that can breed serious crime. 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 crime.

Community Policing Relies on Active Community Involvement

Community policing recognizes that community involvement gives new dimension to crime- control activities. While police continue to handle crime fighting and law enforcement responsibilities, the police and community work together to modify conditions that can encourage criminal behavior. The resources available within communities allow for an expanded focus on crime-prevention activities.

Police Services Delivered Through the Neighborhood Patrol Officer

Patrol officers are the primary providers of police services in community policing efforts. They handle the daily policing needs of the community. The entire police organization backs the efforts of the neighborhood officers.

Effective community policing depends on optimizing contact between patrol officers and community members so that the officer develops an intimate knowledge of the day-to-day workings of the community and becomes a familiar figure to community members.

Trust Is the Heart

Establishing and maintaining mutual trust is the central goal of community partnership. Trust will give the police greater access to valuable information that can lead to the prevention of and solution of crimes. It will also engender support for police activities and provide a basis for a productive working relationship with the community that will find solutions to local problems.

Given the current climate of distrust in many of our communities, sheriffs and police chiefs and their officers will need to make a concerted effort to forge bonds of understanding and cooperation with community members. Building trust will require ongoing effort, but it is essential to effective community policing.

Long-Term Commitment Needed

Community policing does not offer a quick fix. It requires a long-term commitment by police to work with community members to reach mutually agreed-upon goals. Forming lasting partnerships to eradicate the underlying causes of crime will take effort, time and patience on the part of all involved.

Wide-Ranging Benefits

Law enforcement is finding that in addition to bringing police closer to the people, community policing offers a myriad of other benefits. Making effective use of the talents and resources available within communities will help extend severely strained police resources. As police interaction with the community becomes more positive, productive partnerships will be formed, leading to greater satisfaction with police services and increased job satisfaction among officers. Reduced levels of crime will allow more police resources to be allocated to services that have the greatest impact on the quality of community life.

Show All Answers

1. What is Community Policing?
2. What makes Community Policing Different?
3. How Does Community Policing Work?
4. How Do We Get Started?