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Benefits of Community Policing: Evidence and Conjecture (From Community Policing: Rhetoric or Reality, P 103-120, 1988, Jack R Greene and Stephen D Mastrofski, eds. -- See NCJ-115735)

NCJ Number
M A Wycoff
Date Published
18 pages
This discussion reviews evidence regarding the benefits of community-oriented policing for the community and offers a rationale for testing the apparent benefits for police personnel.
Community-oriented policing programs rest on the view that the police and citizens should experience more nonthreatening, supportive interactions that should include efforts by police to listen to citizens, take seriously the citizens' definitions of problems, and solve the problems that have been identified. Program goals may include improved citizen attitudes toward the police, improved police attitudes toward citizens, more effective police service as defined by the police, and more effective service as defined by citizens. Four policing strategies tested in Houston and Newark, N.J. were community-oriented: a community police station, citizen contact patrol, community organizing, and coordinated community policing. These strategies appeared to reduce citizen fear of crime, improve citizens' views of crime and disorder problems in their neighborhoods, and improve citizens' evaluations of the police. The evaluations of these strategies did not gather data on the effects on police officers. However, the researchers involved in evaluating the Houston program noted favorable attitudes in the police officers involved in the program. Findings suggested that the benefits for individual officers may lead to benefits for police organizations as well. Possible disadvantages, illegal or inequitable policing or the politicization of the police, should also be recognized. Results suggest grounds for optimism about the future of community-oriented policing, which may actually represent a new facet of the longstanding role of the police. Chart.


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