U.S. flag

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

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Community Policing or Zero Tolerance?: Preferences of Police Officers from 22 Countries in Transition

NCJ Number
British Journal of Criminology Volume: 49 Issue: 6 Dated: November 2009 Pages: 788-809
Cynthia Lum
Date Published
November 2009
22 pages
This study examined police commander deployment preferences across multiple democratizing nations.
These findings provide interesting insights into the relationship between democratic consolidation and policing, as well as in forming policy options regarding democratizing the police abroad. Findings indicate that there may be a link between attitudes by police supervisors towards different styles of policing and the extent to which a country has democratized. Findings present empirical results that support theories of the relationship between governance and policing. Community policing and democracy hold similar values, in that community policing, at least philosophically, may be a cultural leverage for establishing a democratic police force. Like elections, party systems, political culture, and civic society, the attitudes and behaviors of justice bureaucrats may be an additional way to measure the quality of consolidation as well as push the process along. However, democratic policing is a complex and paradoxical task; advocating zero tolerance or other harsh-on-crime approaches may not serve the goals of democratization that reformers seek, even though in stable democracies, these tactics may be believed to reduce crime. Emphasized is the need for more comparative policing research to inform both international policing organizational theory and policy. Data were collected from 315 police supervisors from 22 transitioning nations asked about their preferences towards 2 different styles of crime prevention. Tables, figure, and references