The United States experienced tremendous growth in urban areas in the 1960s, and this led to an exponential increase in populations in towns and cities. Consequently, there was an increase in the demand for employment opportunities. Since the supply of labor was more than the available jobs, most of the urban dwellers were unemployed.
History of Community Policing
The need to earn a living influenced some of the urban dwellers to engage in criminal activities, including burglary, pickpocketing, violent crime, prostitution, drug trafficking, and other criminal activities that helped them earn some money. The police departments in different cities had to use brute force to deal with the criminals, with the hope that this would discourage potential criminals from engaging in crime. However, the brute force only resulted in the police force being negatively criticized by society. People were strongly against the use of visceral force by the police officers when handling criminals.
By the 1970s, the police departments in the United States discovered that they had to develop a new strategy that would be more effective in dealing with criminals, while also building positive reviews for the police. Community policing was unveiled during this time as a concept where the police collaborated with the members of the community to conduct investigations and to mitigate crime by identifying criminals before they could execute their misdemeanors. Most people did not trust the police during the era of using animalistic force in law enforcement, but the community policing strategy was bound to enhance the trust. Police officers would be deployed to the neighborhoods, where they would interact with the members of the community with the hope that they would volunteer some information about the notorious criminal gangs in the neighborhoods. Community policing has evolved over the years, with the members of the public having absolute trust in police officers, and they always volunteer information whenever they witness or suspect criminal activities in their neighborhoods.
Effects of Community Policing
Current studies have revealed that community policing has gained popularity in all cities across the United States, and the members of the community are actively providing police officers with relevant information to solve crime cases. Community policing is particularly effective in enhancing the satisfaction level of the citizens, especially when they see the police officers patrolling their neighborhoods and asking questions. The process gives citizens the perception of safety and an increased level of concern for security by the police departments. Additionally, the process also influences the development of the perception of order in the community. However, current statistics reveal that community policing does not necessarily foster fear among criminals; hence, it is not an efficient way to deter crime (Gill, Weisburd, Telep, Vitter, & Bennett, 2014).
Community policing is part of the strategic approaches used by the New York Police Department to enhance security in different neighborhoods. Currently, the agency has divided the jurisdiction into four sections, and each section has a designated neighborhood coordination officer (NCO). The coordinators are charged with providing contact between the members of the community and the police officers, and they have been playing a major role in fighting crime across the region. The main aim of applying the modern form of community policing is the fact that studies in the community have revealed that having a better relationship with the people enhances their willingness to volunteer information to the police (Evers, 2016).
Furthermore, the NYPD has ensured that the new strategy is effective by increasing the number of police officers patrolling the neighborhoods. More polices cars have been procured to ensure that the members of the community have access to police officers. The law enforcement department has particularly ensured that there are more police officers based in specific neighborhoods permanently. This is meant to enhance the confidence of the people when they develop interpersonal relationships with the officers. Additionally, the traditional stop and arrest approach to community policing has been eliminated from the department (Lynch, 2017).
The restructuring of the community policing approach in the NYPD has led to a higher level of effectiveness in community policing. Having more police officers and coordinators in the system has increased the confidence in people, and this implies that more people will be willing to provide information to the police. This will ultimately enhance the performance of the NYPD in fighting major crimes. The new system has particularly helped investigators in the department to arrest drug traffickers and illegal firearm holders (Lynch, 2017).
Community policing is a viable approach to fighting crime in society, but it has different results in different sizes of departments in the law enforcement field. Studies have revealed that in the smaller police departments, police officers have a closer relationship with the community members; hence they fight crime better through community policing. Larger departments use community policing as a method to develop plans to solve issues facing the community, but it does not have a major influence on crime reduction (Sozer & Merlo, 2013). However, community policing was primarily developed to enhance a positive perspective on the tasks handled by policemen in the neighborhoods. It is apparent that community policing increases the involvement of citizens in fighting crime, and this has led to the development of a positive outlook on the role of policemen in the community. Community policing in the contemporary world is characterized by high trust levels of the police by the members of the community (Holmes, Painter, & Smith, 2017).
Evers, L. (2016). NYPD steps up community policing efforts. Web.
Gill, C., Weisburd, D., Telep, C. W., Vitter, Z., & Bennett, T. (2014). Community-oriented policing to reduce crime, disorder and fear and increase satisfaction and legitimacy among citizens: A systematic review. Journal of Experimental Criminology, 10(4), 399-428.
Holmes, M. D., Painter, M. A., & Smith, B. W. (2017). Citizens’ perceptions of police in rural US communities: A multilevel analysis of contextual, organizational and individual predictors. Policing and Society, 27(2), 136-156.
Lynch, P. J. (2017). Community policing, as the N.Y.P.D. chief sees it. Web.
Sozer, M. A., & Merlo, A. V. (2013). The impact of community policing on crime rates: Does the effect of community policing differ in large and small law enforcement agencies?. Police Practice and Research, 14(6), 506-521.