Based on a literature review, this report examines the theoretical models, practical implementation, and evidence-based outcomes of community-oriented policing (COP) and problem-oriented policing (POP), which are two policing strategies that have gained popularity since the mid-1980s.
COP and POP have been viewed as policing models that should supplant or supplement elements of the traditional policing model. Under the traditional policing model, police are viewed as the primary guardians of public safety, whose primary responsibilities are to respond to reported and observed crimes, conduct investigations, identify suspects, and make arrests. In the mid-1980s, this model began to be viewed as too narrow a focus that ignored the importance of preemptory interventions and crime-prevention as critical elements for improving public safety and reducing crime. At the core of the COP model is a redefinition of the relationship between the police and the community. The COP model views the police and community as collaborators in identifying and countering the causes of crime. Typical manifestations of the implementation of COP are increased foot patrols, school resource officers, storefront police stations, the geographic assignment of officers, and neighborhood-based crime prevention activities. POP also emerged as a key tool in the COP model. POP involves the police in identifying and countering persistent crime patterns and the circumstance and locations linked to their commission. Based on the identification and analysis of a crime "problem," strategies are developed to change both contexts that are linked to the crime and the police response to it, followed by research-based evaluations of the effectiveness of the strategies. Evaluations of both COP and POP implementation and outcomes have been mixed; however, there is sufficient evidence that when these models are implemented in accordance with evidence-based practices, they improve on the sole use of the traditional policing model. 28 references
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Date Published: October 1, 2010