An Investigation of Crime Prevention and Community Policing

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An Investigation of Crime Prevention and Community Policing

Breana Beason

LeMoyne-Owen College


Criminal Justice 384 (CRJS384)



April 30, 2020
























Table of Contents

Chapter 1 5

  1. Introduction 5
  2. Statement of problem 6
  3. Significance of study 6
  4. Need for the study 7
  5. Purpose of study 7
  6. Operation definitions 8
  7. Theory 11

Chapter 2 – Review of Literature 12

  1. Introduction 12
  2. Independent Variable 12
  3. Dependent Variable 15
  4. Theory Discussion 17

Chapter 3 – Research Methodology 18

  1. Purpose Statement 18
  2. Research Question 18
  3. Research Design 18
  4. Collection Procedure 18
  5. Instruments 19

References 21





















Community-oriented policing is an innovation to law enforcement that started in the United States around the late 1980s entering the 1990’s; it focused on the needs of the community and building trust between community members and peace officers. Community Policing addresses issues such as public safety, crime prevention, along with fear and social disorder (COPS, n.d.). By addressing issues within law enforcement, one can implement organizational strategies, utilize partnerships, and direct people to more public resources. Also, they find and use problem-solving techniques while trying to ensure the rights of individuals and maintain transparency.





Crime prevention refers to the attempts made either by asociety or anyone with the sole intent of reducing victimization and philosophy that promotes the systematic use of problem-solving techniques and supports partnerships as a method to enforce collaborative efforts between police officers and the community, resulting in the promotion of productive relationships between the community and law enforcement agencies (Palmiotto, 2000).

Statement of the problem

Crime can disrupt the daily lives of citizens in a myriad of ways, such as promoting isolation and alienation. Also as crime increases within a neighborhood it is often accompanied with, disinvestments, decrease in property value, businesses vacating, and homeowners replaced with transient renters, in return creating a domino effect of crime and neighborhood deterioration (Roehl & Cook, 1984).  Millions of dollars, much of it federally funded, was spent by police departments for police community relationships. It is no secret the problem of police relations within the urban community is based on the values and practices within the police system (Masotti, 1968). We are not discussing a few bad apples within the bunch, but rather a police system that (Masotti, 1968).


Significance of the study

With the combined efforts of The Urban Crime Prevention Program (UCPP) and ACTION and Law Enforcement Assistance Administration, an 18 month program was launched to combat urban crime through the establishment of 85 innovative neighborhood-based crime prevention projects across nine cities with the goal of  increasing the participation of citizens by utilizing innovative crime prevention methods (Roehl et al., 1984). After a two-year evaluation of the program it was concluded that with the combined efforts of the UCPP and the partnerships with other agencies, offers promise in combating urban crime. The study recommended the following (Roehl et al., 1984):

  • community crime prevention programs ought to emphasize the organization of citizens as the foundation of the strategy.
  • strong working partnerships must be established between neighborhood efforts and pertinent criminal justice agencies.
  • involved neighborhood organizations must receive substantial training and technical assistance.
  • and neighborhood-based crime prevention strategies need to receive the continued support and attention of officials concerned with urban crime.

The most effective strategies of them all is the neighborhood watch approach (Weisburd & Braga, 2007, Pp. 47-48), which involves organizing residents to address crime prevention combined with cooperative working relationships with relevant criminal justice agencies (Roehl et al., 1984).  Programs like National Night Out symbolizes a neighborhood’s unison in fighting crime by leaving their outside lights on (NNO, n.d.).


Need for the study

The study


  • To what extent has community policing helped in either preventing as well as minimizing crimes in several parts of the country?
  • What are some of the challenges that affect community policing as an approach that is employed in almost every country in the world to fight crime?
  • What is the future of community policing in various parts of the country?
  • What are some of the steps that can be undertaken by government agencies and policymakers to address obstacles that deter the effective implementation of a community policing approach?

“Community-based programs are important in the service delivery in many communities” (Mancini & Marek, 2004, p. 339). Due to the increase of crime and its control linked to social dynamics of a neighborhood, cities have turned to community-based crime prevention strategies. Fortunately, communities have recognized the importance of collectively working together to combat crime within their neighborhoods (Roehl et al., 1984).

Purpose Statement

Besides the direct effects of community policing (prevention) activities in reducing crime and/or the fear of crime, these preventive activities may aid in the rebuilding of local social control within a community. The objective of the study is discovering whether or not innovative community policing programs have an effect on crime prevention.

H0        Community policing does prevent crime.

H1        Community policing does not prevent crime.

Operation Definitions

  1. ACTION – A Federal Domestic Volunteer Agency that administers all community-based service programs sponsored by the Federal Government including AmeriCorps and its component programs, Learn and Serve America, and the National Senior Service Corps and its component programs (Guide, 1993).
  2. Community Based Programs – They are designed to prevent disease and injury, improve health and enhance quality of life (ODPHP, 2020).
  3. Community-Oriented Policing – It is a philosophy that promotes the systematic use of problem-solving techniques and supports partnerships as a method to enforce collaborative efforts between police officers and the community, resulting in the promotion of productive relationships between the community and law enforcement agencies (Palmiotto, 2000).
  4. Community hypothesis – DuBow and Emmens (1981) state that a neighborhood can be mobilized by community organizations to participate together in crime prevention projects.
  5. Crime prevention – defined as, “the total of all private initiatives and state policies, other than the enforcement of criminal law, aimed at the reduction of damage caused by acts defined as criminal by the state (UNODC, n.d.).”
  6. Decentralization – refers to the process of distributing or delegating several activities of an institution, especially those involving decision making or planning away from the central group. Decentralization has been in existence since the 1800s, and it was adopted in various organizations to address some of the issues of centralized systems (Cordner, 2014). In community policing and crime prevention, this term implies that some of the police activities that are aimed at solving the crime are also carried out by individuals in society. Therefore, there is co-responsibility between the society and the
  7. Gang Resistance Education and Training (R.E.A.T.) – is an evidence-based and effective gang and violence prevention program built around school-based law enforcement officers instructed classroom curricula (Davis &Leo, 2008).
  8. Law Enforcement AssistanceAdministration (LEAA) – “Established to assist state and local government in reducing crime and to increase the effectiveness, fairness, and coordination of law enforcement and criminal justice systems at all levels of government (GAO, 1977).”
  9. Law enforcement officer – this refers to all officers that maintain law and order in any given jurisdiction. These officers are either elected or appointed to exercise police powers, and they can make arrests and even detain an offender before producing them in court for prosecution purposes (Neubar &Fradella, 2018). In some communities, police functions may be carried out by military authorities, state security bodies, and any other agency to ensure normalcy and peace is
  10. National Night Out – enhances the relationship between neighbors and law enforcement while simultaneously creating a sense of community, by bringing the police and the community together under positive circumstances (NNO, n.d.)
  11. Neighborhood watch approach- involves organizing residents to address crime prevention combined with cooperative working relationships with relevant criminal justice agencies (Roehl et al., 1984).
  12. Operation Identification – a nationwide crime prevention program which involves permanently marking valuables with numbers or a combination of both symbols and numbers onto valuables (Amherst, n.d.)
  13. Policing – this refers to an activity that is carried out by the police or any other organization to promote peace and security in a region. On the other hand, Ainsworth (2002) add that ‘policing is an activity that is concerned with a different collection of issues as well as practices. He further describes it as a form of social service that is created by humans; it is rendered by humans to other humans in an atmosphere which is largely shaped by humans. Similarly, Stevens (2003) describes policing as a means in which justice and other freedoms of an individual are achieved in a given environment or society. Hence, policing is a service that is provided primarily by police and other security agencies to society for their benefits. Moreover, it is also stated that not only the police organization that is involved in community policing but also the community, non-governmental organizations, and other relevant government
  14. Police transformation – this refers to the aspect whereby the police changes from being a force to a service-oriented organization that can comfortably work with the community with the aim of ensuring their safety and that of their property (Weisburd & Braga, 2019). The police here actively involve the citizens in the process of identifying criminals and apprehend them to avert criminal activities in the future.
  15. Problem-solving techniques – agencies are encouraged to proactively devise solutions to the immediate underlying conditions that aid in public safety problems (COPS, n.d.)
  16. Public safety – this refers to the everyday operations that ensure that the security of the members of the society is guaranteed. Public safety allows freedom of movement, other rights, and also the absence of criminal activities that cause disturbances and tension in the community (Tiley & Sidebottom, 2017).
  17. Rule of law – this is a term that describes the principle of governance whereby every individual, privately owned institutions, public institutions, the state, and any other organization are all accountable to the laws that are equally applied to everyone and they are in tandem with the widely accepted human standards and norms globally (Bohm et al., 2017). Moreover, there have to be measures set aside to ensure the observance of various principles of supremacy of the law.
  18. Security Survey – a formal process that is utilized to review specific areas of a business or residence to identify potential threats and risks (ScienceDirect, 2011).
  19. Urban Crime Prevention Program (UCPP) – an 18 month program was launched to combat urban crime through the establishment of 85 innovative neighborhood-based crime prevention projects across nine cities with the goal of increasing the participation of citizens by utilizing innovative crime prevention methods (Roehl et al., 1984).
  20. Victimization- the action of singling someone out for cruel or unjust treatment (Vito, 2005).


Community policing, also known as neighborhood policing, is a strategy of policing that is based on the premise that a community is supposed to either interact or support initiatives that deter criminal activity. What is remarkable about this concept is that it attempts to reduce criminal activity with the presence of community organizations. Weitzer & Tuch (2006) state that by giving citizens more control improves their quality of life within their community. On the downside there is little evidence that these system-based programs prevent crime and have a significant impact on the rate of crime, ironically, most agree that crime happens due to dysfunctional dynamics and economic conditions (Roehl et al., 1984).

CHAPTER II – Review of Literature

In this study, Community Policing is the independent variable. Community Policing brings police and citizens together to prevent crime and solve neighborhood problems. Community policing emphasizes stopping crime before it happens, not just responding to calls for service after the crime occurs. Community involvement in such activities creates a stronger community due to the fact people will take responsibility for their own safety, local issues and interactions among neighborhoods will be increased and informally become a byproduct of these actions (Roehl et al., 1984); but at the same time community policing is only as good as its community involvement. Police officers become part of the neighborhood, which helps the police get to know their residents’ wants and needs, which in return builds trust between the community and police. Those “who believe that community policing is practiced in the neighborhood are more likely to express favorable opinions of the police” (Weitzer &Touch, 2006). Community policing is “democracy in action” the police and the community working together to achieve a common goal of a safer, better place to live (BJA, August 2012, p. 4).

Independent Variable

Community policing plays a pivotal role in the two defining elements of policing, that is police-community relations and problem-solving (Weisburd & Braga, 2007, p. 47). “First, community policing should broaden police organizational goals; second, it should alter the way police are organized to accomplish their goals” (Weisburd et al., 2007, p. 47). Active participation is required from the local government and the average citizen for community policing to work; everyone is responsible for safeguarding and the welfare of the neighborhood (Weitzer & Tuch, 2006). Unlike traditional policing methods, the goals of policing are expanded, and the perception of community is changed (Hansen, 2002). Traditional policing assumes that the problems of society are not within the organization of the police department (Hansen, 2002). In reported that blacks felt two to onethat police brutality is a significant cause of civil disorder, whereSeveral responses in regards to this dysfunctional relationship between police and the urban community was created to improve operations within the criminal justice system, such as, improving practices within law enforcement policies, efficient changes in the court system to aid in prosecution and reform within the correctional system (Roehl et al., 1984).

Community policing plays a significant role in police-community relations and problem-solving (Thacher, 2001). To develop a partnership with the community, first, the police must form great relationships with the neighborhood and police must try to involve the area in its pursuit to control crime. Most community concerns and solutions are identified through problem-solving (Mancini &Marek, 2004).  The objective is to lessen crime and disorder by diligently examining the attributes of concerns in communities and then applying the most suited problem-solving solutions (Mancini & Marek, 2004).

With any method of policing, there are going to be advantages and disadvantages. One of the main benefits of community policing is that it reduction of fear in the community (Rhudy, 2014).  With an increase of police presence in a neighborhood, residents feel more secure, which results in helping police establish trust within the community. As citizens become active in taking care of the community, they start to understand what police officers do on a day-to-day basis, thereby improving police-community relations (Jackson, 2010). Another advantage is that community policing is flexible and capable of changing. The solutions and strategies change as the community changes (Rushing, 2011, p.162). If a plan works in one community, it doesn’t mean that it will work in all communities. Community policing allows the community to devise new solutions that will work within their neighborhood and to change or eliminate those that do not work. Community policing can be implemented in a limitless number of ways, such as Neighborhood Watch programs, Operation Identification (marking personal property) and Home Security Surveys (Rosenbaum & Cahn, 1986). This is also true of problem-solving, but at the same time one’s imagination only limits them both.

A significant disadvantage to community policing is that it only works with the community involvement and the police working together. There must be an established partnership between the police and the community. Without the trust and participation of the city, any attempts at community policing will fail, it is not a quick fix. Frequently when there is a problem that requires help from the community, it seems like the same people always stepup to the plate.

Different strategies can be used to keep the community safe and reduce crime, one is a neighborhood watch (Wooley, 2011). A neighborhood watch program is a group of people living in the same area who want to make their neighborhood safer by working together and in conjunction with local law enforcement to reduce crime and improve their quality of life. Neighborhood watch groups have regular meetings to plan how they will accomplish their specific goals. Neighborhood watch is homeland security at the local level (Watanabe, 2013). It is an opportunity to volunteer and work towards increasing the safety and security of our homes and our homeland. Neighborhood Watch empowers citizens and communities to become active in emergency preparedness, as well as the fighting against crime and community disasters (Wang, 2014).

Dependent Variable

Another community-oriented program is the Drug Abuse Resistance Education Program (D.A.R.E), designed to create trust between the police and the youth, with hopes ofthe provision of useful information about crime, such as drug related activity within their community (Weisburd et al., 2007). It provides young people with the necessary skills to make well-informed choices and to empower them to say no when they are tempted to use alcohol, tobacco, or drugs. Another component of DA.R.E. helps students to recognize the dangers of violence in their schools and community (Weisburd et al., 2007). D.A.R.E. “humanizes” the police, that is, young people can begin to relate to police officers as people.

Created in 1991 in partnership with the ATF and the Phoenix Police Department the Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T.) Program assists in building more-positive relationships between law enforcement and community by teaching children to effectively deal with serious issues affecting their behavior and the community, such as bullying, peer pressure, managing anger, and making right decisions (National, 2012). G.R.E.A.T. is a cumulative curriculum comprising 13 lessons ranging from 45 to 60 minutes taught in the 6th grade (National, 2012). The goal of the program was to improve a student’s empathy towards others and increase their levels of guilt association when laws and norms are violated (National, 2012).

Crime Prevention is an attempt to reduce and deter crime and criminals (Whitaker, 2010). The evolution of crime prevention is what helps to maintain our country’s safety and protect our citizens (Whitaker, 2010). In 1979 the Crime Prevention Campaign was launched, this made people aware that things are going to be different (Perillo, 2011). More emphasis was beingput on finding new sources to prevent crime. Of course, there were problems before this, but this is when things started changing(Perillo, 2011). Also, when looking at the evolution of crime prevention, you must look at the concept of police-community partnerships. This method has been found useful as law enforcement improved their relationship with community members to deter criminal activity. As crime keeps evolving, so does crime prevention strategies (Howard, 2016). According to Watanabe (2013), the purpose of crime prevention is to address the issues regarding criminal activity for public safety in a significant manner. One of the core segments of crime prevention that ought to be focusedon is the history of crime prevention. DuBow and Emmens (1981) claim that the Urban Crime Prevention Program (UCPP) and the community crime prevention movement is rooted in “the community hypothesis”, which states that a neighborhood could be mobilized by community organizations to participate together in crime prevention projects.

Volunteering in such programs as Neighborhood watch can help clean up the community. This would also be a way to show appreciation for theneighborhood, by organizing to help clean and improve the community, such as a clean crew for the neighborhood park; well-kept play equipment and a new park can attract enough people to discourage illegal activities. Insist that the local government maintains the parks, immediately repairing vandalism or other damage (King, 2013). Help students, faculty, and staff promote a sense of community through involvement in a wide range of programs and activities. As King (2013) stated, work with the school to establish drug-free, gun-free zones if theydon’t already exist, mentor young people who need positive support from adults through programs like Big Brothers and Big Sisters and/or create a community anti-violence competition. Within the competition include speech, dance, painting, drawing, singing, musical instrument acting, and other creative arts. Get young people involved, to plan it, and suggest prizes. Make it a fun, local celebration;itcan be held in a local park and even include an old-fashioned potluck. Support organizations that help make communities safer, like the National Crime Prevention Council (Ferriss, 2012).


Theory Discussion

The theory utilized within this study was the Nigel, 2012). Mainstream CP starts with observation which informs every theory throughout, i.e., in a democratic state run by the people, it is important that there’s an understanding of how common people conceive the nature of crime and the role of the police (Nigel, 2012). The theoretical framework used in this study strengthened the assumption of how and why community policing and crime prevention affect the community.

CHAPTER 3 – Research Methodology

Purpose Statement

This chapter contains various materials and methods of the study. There is a description of the study design, data sources, and assumptions of the study, data collection methods, data analysis methods, and sampling procedures.

Research Question

What is the relationship between community policing and crime prevention in the United States of America?


Null hypothesis – Community policing plays a crucial role in crime prevention in society

The alternative hypothesis –community policing does not play a crucial role in crime prevention in society.

Research Design

The primary research design employed in this study was the descriptive social survey

There was also the incorporation of the quantitative survey to complete the qualitative survey data.

Collection Procedure

The data generated for this study was obtained from the primary and secondary data in order to address research questions, and the objective of the study satisfactorily. For the primary sources, data was


Numerous data collection instruments were employed in order to generate data that would be highly reliable for the analysis and address all the objectives and research questions of the study. Some of the main tools used to gather this data included questionnaires, interviews, both structured and unstructured, observation, and focus group discussions. Questionnaires that were carefully developed with questions that would help address the objectives of the study were administered to the selected sample, which included the community members, some members of the police, and other leaders. The questionnaires had both open-ended and closed questions. Open-ended questions were very crucial in getting the unfiltered thoughts of these groups about community policing and crime prevention.

On the other hand, interviews were conducted with various members of the community, including political leaders, clergymen, among others. Field observations were also conducted, and the data obtained was highly crucial in complementing data from other methods. Notably, before the actual data was gathered, there was some testing done on certain samples from various categories of the sampled respondents. This was in tandem with our study as we wanted to ascertain if all the questions were properly drafted and could be understood by our respondents and make necessary changes, if any. This pretesting was also crucial in determining the total time that would be taken for the exercise to be completed. During the data collection process, efforts were made to ensure that quality data was gathered.

Moreover, the focus group discussionwas used to collect qualitative data to supplement quantitative data from other sources (Peersman, 2014). The representatives from all the sampled groups were given an opportunity to discuss various themes concerning community policing and its role in crime prevention.

Instrument used to collect demographics

In this study, the sample of interest included individuals from various groups. This included members of the police force, community policing officers, members of the community, and other leaders who have influence in the community. Therefore, a simple random sampling technique was employed in selecting the respondents for this exercise.

Major assumptions about the research project

It was assumed that police and other stakeholders who were involved in community policing had a greater understanding of this approach, and they were given more time to express what they thought of community policing as a method of crime prevention. Similarly, during the collection of data, we assumed that the respondents were honest and truthful in their responses that we rely on to address various research objectives and questions.

Data analysis

After all the necessary available data was collected, it was analyzed using various techniques. For instance, the appropriate data that was obtained from the survey sample, was keyed in the computer to be analyzed using the latest statistical packages for social science (SPSS). Data that was obtained from focus group discussions and other semi-structured interviews were analyzed, and percentages, tables of count, and other qualitative descriptions were used to summarize and describe the outcome of this study.



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