In the United States of America the police is playing a key role in the maintaining the order in the country. Unlike most countries, the U.S. does not have single police department. Instead, each state, as well as every major city, and sometimes a smaller town have its own police department, independent from the others. There are also federal law enforcement agencies that investigate federal crimes. In order to fruitfully cooperate with population in solving their problems, the U.S. has the community policing. The idea of such department is to create the cooperation between people and police members in order to accelerate the mutual efforts in solving problems inside the community. This cooperation means that not only members of the police are key figures in the solving of the crime or problem situation, but also all members of the community become active assistants in efforts to keep and protect the safety and high quality of the neighborhood.
The community policing was established in 1994. Before 1990, the term of the community policing was barely defined. One of the first definitions was introduced by Friedman, who said “Community policing is a policy and a strategy aimed at achieving more effective and efficient crime control, reduced fear of crime, improved quality of life, improved police services and police legitimacy, through a proactive reliance on community resources that seeks to change crime causing conditions” (Friedman, 1992). He was convinced that the police should have greater accountability and greater concern about civil rights and liberties. It also should be greater share of the public awareness in the decision making.
The commuting policy has different views on the crime and its reasons. For more people, the crime means a violation of law that has to be punished. It is a very narrow focus on this issue. Saying more profoundly, it is a societal product that has to be reduced in number. The community policing has a comprehensive approach to the crime definition and promise to offer for the community population better future. The best approach in solving crimes or problems is to prevent them as soon as possible before any critical actions. It means that we should concentrate the police attention on the understanding of the crime’s causes. The community policing is offering the strategy of understanding the causes of crimes in order to reduce them in this way. The main principles of the community policing is reduce crimes and any other similar actions in order to create the atmosphere of safety in the neighborhood. It makes every effort to prevent crime and focus on the problem solving at a local level. In order to be able to be effective in its work, the community policing has an open system and structure. It has changes inside the department. The chain of command is exchanged at the lower level for better internal communication. The structure of the police department is decentralized. It increases the level of effectiveness usage of the officers and level of the relations with citizens. The officers have the freedom of action in the decision-making process and greater flexibility. It is a community-oriented organization that operates as proactive policing, instead of usual reactive policing. The recruitment process requires a higher educational level of future officers. The other very important principle of the work of community policing is that it aimed to reduce the fear of crime. Such new experiments as foot patrol are viewed very positively by citizens. It showed a tangible result of a policing work. The presents of the police officers on the streets creates not only effect of safety, but also the opportunity of the quick response on the crime action.
How it works
On the regular basis, the work of the community policy includes the next actions. The police officers of the community policing are obliged to have the constant contact with the business owners and talk to the pedestrians. They organize the meetings with members of the community and its organizations. It is necessary for them to establish the partnership with the community and local government and non-government agencies. All these actions aimed to indentify community concerns and potential problems. They also have the work links with other police departments in order to build a quick response to crime actions. They work with the full responsibility and try to provide a quick response. The community policing tries to concentrate their officers in any geographical area or crime problem. It could be officers that based in malls, prisons, universities or schools; graffiti liaison officers; problem-solving teams; officers that relate to the rural engagement. The community policing successfully works in the direction of the science crime, where officers are studying the methods of how to prevent, detect and solve crimes. They make the analysis of the information in order to build enforcement strategies. This approach is aimed to deal with the most serious offenders. It also works in the direction of the crash reduction. This strategy is developed in order to escape and decrease the motor accidents on the roads. One of the tactical dimensions is to have a positive relationship with all segments of the community and keep tied contacts with citizens. It is not a secret that officers work better when they know citizens and their personal problems. Moreover, in the case of the community policing, one of the main factors of the effective work is the community itself. The changes inside the community should be presented for police officers in some way. Otherwise, the unknown changes could continue to generate the conditions of the criminal behavior. Without active participation of the residents, the police officers would not be able to deal with unpredictable situations within a community. The police organization could not be informed without help of the communal institutions such as church, school, family, etc. The lack of knowledge of the community would not allow handling its issues.
Results of work
A critical aspect of the community policing work is assessment that should be taken into account in order to see the effectiveness and proficiency of this organization. In theory, the structure of the organization could look very reliable. However, it has to be proved in practice anyway. One of the examples could be Atlanta. This city, as others, uses as many innovation of the community policing as possible. The major of the city is a supporter of such policy structure. The crime rate decreased in the city by 60%. In 1995, the city received the major federal grant for offering comprehensive approach to deal with community conditions leading to crime. It included the community policing as one of the components of the grant (Friedmann). Nowadays, as a result of proper work, the number of community policing officers continues to increase in number all over the country.
Hence, community policing is an organization that is responsible for the safety of the local population. The measures of this police structure are aimed to prevent and reduce the criminal situation in the neighborhood. The actions of the community policing are different from the usual reactive policing. Instead, it uses the resources to establish proactive policing. It provides its efficiency with tied collaboration of the community residents.