U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

Policing Neighborhoods: A Report From St. Petersburg

NCJ Number
Date Published
July 1999
2 pages
Publication Series
This paper reports findings from the Project on Policing Neighborhoods, which involves an analysis of what policing is like in St. Petersburg, Fla., a city that has implemented community policing.
In 1997 the researchers observed police officers for approximately 240 hours in each of 12 of St. Petersburg's 48 Community Policing Areas (CPAs). The CPAs were selected to represent variation in social distress (amount of unemployment and poverty and the number of female-headed households), which affects service conditions for police. Field researchers observed 911 officers responsible for answering calls for service, Community Policing Officers (CPOs) free to focus on problem solving, and supervisors assigned to the selected CPAs. Researchers also personally interviewed nearly all St. Petersburg patrol officers (n=240) and their immediate supervisors (n=37). In addition, more than 1,900 randomly selected residents of St. Petersburg were surveyed by telephone. The findings pertain to the police role, allocation of officer time, police-citizen interactions, and citizen perceptions. Overall, the research shows that community policing made inroads in the outlook of officers and that the strength of those effects is related to whether an officer has a specialized community policing assignment or serves as a general patrol officer. Citizens are relatively satisfied with police services, although minority citizens tended to evaluate their police somewhat lower than did whites.

Date Published: July 1, 1999