In the recent years, many police departments throughout the United States have moved from the traditional policing approaches toward new strategies for accomplishing the police mission. The remarkable degree of innovation and change in policing combined with the emergence of new security issues and threats has greatly transformed the extent and nature of policing in the United States. While these innovative programs and tactics have become highly significant in modern policing practices, there is scant evidence with respect to key working relationships between these policing strategies. This study aims to compare and contrast the four major types of policing strategies, namely community-oriented policing, problem-oriented policing, COMPSTAT, and zero tolerance policing strategies. It will then present the best practice approach synthesizing crucial elements for promoting fairness and effectiveness in policing.
Community policing is a philosophy of policing that is mostly associated with efforts to improve relations between police and the community. With this organizational strategy, law enforcement officials develop close ties to the community in an attempt to identify and understand their crime concerns and security problems. Therefore, community policing often promise to build and strengthen the capacity of these communities to fight and present crime on their own through coordinated or collaborative projects with the police. On the other hand, problem-oriented policing puts a lot of focus on patterns of traditionally defined social problems, which are identified based on the existing police information systems. Also known as problem-solving policing, this strategy seeks to address problems and have an outcome without necessarily involving the given communities in a direct manner (Dempsey & Forst, 2010). While problem solving policing and CompStat relies more often on policy autonomy and professionalism, community policing emphasizes the significant role of the community and tend to give more influence over police operations to community groups the (University of Maryland, 2013). Furthermore, although this strategy offers a substantive framework for police to analyze problems and come up with positive results, it may prove more effective if it relied more on maintaining good relationships with the community to encourage positive partnership, dialogue and teamwork (Dempsey & Forst, 2010).
The CompStat model is another innovative strategy employed in policing to fight crime and improve security and quality of life in crime-stricken neighborhoods. As a management process, CompStat utilizes computerized crime mapping software that synthesizes the analysis of crime information and disorder data to drive police response and deployment decisions. This strategy emphasizes on rapid response efforts in lowering crime rates centralizing authority, utilizing statistical trends and targeting crime hotspots within the cities (University of Maryland, 2013). Zero-tolerance policing is also another major policing strategy that emphasizes strict, non-discretionary, law enforcement. Perhaps, this is the most aggressive policing approach, since no exceptions are made for crimes committed or the circumstances under which they occur. While zero-tolerance policing has been deployed to address major crimes such as terrorism, murder, homicide and other human rights abuses, it has also been used to address drunken driving problems in countries such as Australia (Rafilson & Peterson, 2008).
Limitations Policing Strategies
It is necessary to note that these policing strategies are generally adopted to improve policing functions and to ensure a high-level security and safety in the society. What community policing and problem-solving strategies have in common is an idea about how law enforcement should identify and respond to criminal and security problems, which they have taken as their duty or responsibility (Dolling, 2001). Furthermore, the two approaches also emphasize preventive measures as well as reactive approaches to crime. Unlike zero-tolerance and Compstat law enforcement approaches, community, and problem-oriented policing strategies call for solutions tailored to the particular issues and circumstances as opposed to relying on more generalized techniques of patrols and investigation. The CompStat process puts greater focus on improving the acquisition and providing of accurate and timely intelligence to identify crime problems that require urgent respond. In addition, the model is also designed to include effective tactics to accommodate multi-departmental interventions at the local, state, and federal levels. As opposed to community-oriented policing that aims to address local problems, Compstat mainly focuses on identifying and addressing major crimes, including terrorism and cyber attacks the (University of Maryland, 2013).
While the zero-tolerance view deterring and incapacitating offenders through imprisonment is effective and addressing crime in the society, community and problem-solving strategies acknowledges other different kinds of interventions that can be utilized by the police to address crime related to gang, domestic violence and drugs. In addition, both the four types of policing are also more facilitated by technology. According to Dempsey and Forts (2010), police departments are continuing to take advantage of the immense benefits of technologies such as the internet, mobile phones, websites, and other sophisticated equipment detect, analyze, monitor, and solve crimes in the neighborhoods.
Policing Strategies Best Model Application
These policing strategies are equally instrumental in addressing security and safety challenges in their own capacity. Continuing innovation is key to ensure that police and communities are able to utilize the eminent benefits of these strategies while also adopting changes to address particular limitations. For instance, the highly varied and heterogeneous tasks that law enforcement officers confront demand a more flexible, integrated approach to ensure fair and effective policing. Studies have shown that, tailored approaches can prove more effective in achieving crime control objectives than general policing approaches (Rafilson & Peterson, 2008 and Bullock Erol & Tilley, 2006). This elucidates the need for increased innovation to embrace policing methods and strategies capable of dealing with policing demands in the 21st century. While finding a general model for policing is somewhat difficult, efforts to develop one should focus on capturing policing as a broad function, citizen input and personnel service in developing strategic dimensions to address crime across different levels (Bullock, Erol & Tilley, 2006).
Police reforms offer great opportunities to build strong law enforcement institutions and strategies in line with the ongoing societal, economic, technological, and behavioral changes. Adopting various aspects of the community-oriented and problem-solving policing models can prove efficient in achieving police objectives mission and objectives. This is because the two models emphasize the mutual responsibility shared by both the public and private organizations in addressing crime problems in the society. Furthermore, adopting the technology component of the CompStat strategy can help to enhance the making of critical policing decisions on security or crime problems that require faster, situation-specific, and efficient response mechanisms. These reforms should capture to build and sustain strong partnerships between policies, agencies and the community on matters of crime and safety in the neighborhoods.
There is a need for increased research into the impact of both environmental and organizational factors on police reforms within individual departments and across the field. However, the push for a specific model of policing is still challenged by numerous factors, including inadequate resources and the presence of a decentralized system, which undermines the capacity to establish coherent authority to streamline communication, partnerships, and resource mobilization within the field.
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