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Crime File: Foot Patrol

NCJ Number
Date Published
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Publication Series
This video cassette, number 10 in the Crime File series, assesses the impact of police foot patrol in Newark, N.J., and Boston, Mass., and presents a panel discussion of the nature and effects of foot patrol as well as possibilities for improving it.
In his opening statement, the moderator states that citizens want police foot patrol in their neighborhoods even though empirical studies indicate that it does not reduce crime. However, he notes that the fear of crime has been reduced in neighborhoods where foot patrol is used. Evaluations of the impacts of foot patrol in Newark and Boston are cited in support of these conclusions. In the panel discussion, Hubert Williams, Newark Police Director, supports the use of foot patrol although it does not reduce crime, because it accomplishes the important goal of reducing citizens' fear of crime. He also describes the tactics of Newark foot patrol officers in patrolling high-rise apartment buildings and dealing with loitering juveniles. Panelist George Kelling, a professor at Harvard University, indicates that foot patrol has the desired effects of providing a felt and visible police presence and of reducing undesirable street activity, which in turn gives citizens a sense of social order in their neighborhoods. Panelist Crisley Wood, Director of the Justice Research Institute and the Neighborhood Crime Prevention Network in Boston, views foot patrol as a key element in community crime prevention. She envisions foot patrol officers becoming organizers of community crime prevention programs. The panelists discuss the implications of foot patrol for the more efficient and effective use of police resources.

Date Published: January 1, 1984