August 13, 2007

Problem-oriented Policing

Dr. George Capowich of Loyola University spoke at the Crime Prevention Roundtable II last Saturday about establishing a university-based research consortium at Loyola involving all the area universities to produce research that law enforcement can use to craft a problem-oriented approach to policing. He talked about the importance of research and using it to fight crime and to pursue a holistic approach to crime fighting.

What he said about problem-oriented policing was not really specific, but is sounded good to me. He said it does three things:
1) It broadens the information police use to understand crime, like census data and other information that criminologists and sociologists use.

He said, “One of the characteristics about violence is that it is very situational. It happens at the spur of the moment. It’s based on past relationships and the circumstances that are present on the street. Problem-oriented policing tries to find, does find the information that bears on that, it uses that, it analyzes that whole gamut of information to try and craft responses and solutions.”

2) It relies heavily on active engagement of law enforcement with the community, including the people who live in the communities and the organizations, non-profits, and city departments that operate in the communities.

He made an interesting point about the relationship between non-profit organizations and the city: “The non-profit sector in this community accounts for 12% of the employment in social services in this city. That is very high. In many cities around the country those are things that citizens expect to get from their government. In New Orleans, you get it from the non-profit community.”

3) It has very specific implementation: scanning (analyzing information), crafting a response, implementing it, and evaluating it.
Capowich rated the three ways to reduce violence:
1) Law enforcement only: least effective
2) Law enforcement strategies coupled with good community relations: more effective
3) Law enforcement strategies, with good community relations, and police problem-oriented approaches: most effective
This approach uses reactive as well as preventive strategies. I like it.

1 comment:

dev said...

His idea was to examine and analyze recurring crime and disorder issues that harm communities, in hopes to prevent or deter them in the future. It takes police a step beyond just handling an incident to finding symptoms that contribute to a certain crime or problem.

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