Encyclopedia of Community Policing and Problem Solving


Edited by: Kenneth J. Peak

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      Editorial Board


      Kenneth J. Peak University of Nevada, Reno

      Editorial Assistant

      Pamela M. Everett Wayne State College

      Editorial Board

      David L. Carter Michigan State University

      Gary W. Cordner Kutztown University

      John E. Eck University of Cincinnati

      Larry K. Gaines California State University, San Bernardino

      Ronald W. Glensor Reno, Nevada, Police Department (Retired)

      Jack R. Greene Northeastern University

      Vivian Lord University of North Carolina, Charlotte

      Willard M. Oliver Sam Houston State University

      Michael S. Scott University of Wisconsin

      Deborah Lamm Weisel North Carolina Central University

      List of Entries

      Reader’s Guide

      The Reader’s Guide is provided to assist readers in locating articles on related topics. It classifies articles into nine general topical categories: Changing Agency Culture; Crime Analysis: Technologies and Techniques; Evaluation and Assessment; Foundations: Evolution of Community Policing and Problem Solving; Future Considerations; Public Safety Issues; Supporting Legislation and National Organizations; Training and Curriculum; and “What Works”—Selected Strategies and Initiatives. Entries may be listed under more than one topic.

      About the Editor

      Kenneth J. Peak, PhD, is a professor and former chairman of the criminal justice department at the University of Nevada, Reno (UNR). Beginning his career at Reno in 1983, he has been named “Teacher of the Year” by the UNR Honor Society and served as acting director of public safety. He has authored or coauthored 25 textbooks (several of which are now in their seventh editions) on community policing, justice administration, general policing, women in law enforcement, and police supervision and management; he has also published more than 60 journal articles and additional book chapters on a wide range of justice-related subjects. He has served as chairman of the Police Section, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and is a past president of the Western and Pacific Association of Criminal Justice Educators. After beginning his criminal-justice career as a municipal police officer in Pittsburg, Kansas, he subsequently held positions as criminal justice planner for southeast Kansas; director of the Four-State Technical Assistance Institute, Law Enforcement Assistance Administration; director of university police, Pittsburg State University; and assistant professor at Wichita State University. He received two gubernatorial appointments to statewide criminal justice committees while in Kansas and holds a doctorate from the University of Kansas.


      James F. Albrecht University of New Haven

      Emmanuel P. Barthe University of Nevada, Reno

      Michael M. Berlin Coppin State University

      Theron L. Bowman Arlington, Texas

      Anthony A. Braga Rutgers University and Harvard University

      Tom Cadwallader North Carolina Central University

      David L. Carter Michigan State University

      Jeremy G. Carter Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis

      Sharon Chamard University of Alaska, Anchorage

      Robert Chapman U.S. Department of Justice

      Gary W. Cordner Kutztown University

      Melchor C. de Guzman The College at Brockport, State University of New York

      Rosemary DeMenno International Association of Chiefs of Police

      Pamela M. Everett Wayne State College

      Joseph Ferrandino Indiana University Northwest

      Mora Fiedler U.S. Department of Justice

      D. Cody Gaines Sam Houston State University

      Larry K. Gaines California State University, San Bernardino

      Daniel W. Gerard Cincinnati, Ohio, Police Department

      Anne P. Glavin IACLEA and California State University, Northridge

      Ronald W. Glensor Reno, Nevada, Police Department (Retired)

      John R. Hamilton Jr. Park University

      Aaron A. Harnish Harrisburg Area Community College

      Justin A. Heinonen Michigan State University

      Jerry Hoover Feather River College

      Brian Kauffman Western Oregon University

      Christopher S. Koper George Mason University

      Jonathan M. Kremser Kutztown University of Pennsylvania

      Joseph B. Kuhns University of North Carolina, Charlotte

      Jennifer L. Lanterman University of Nevada, Reno

      Susan A. Lentz University of Nevada, Reno

      Betsy Lindsay Housing Authority of the County of Los Angeles

      Vivian Lord University of North Carolina, Charlotte

      Cynthia Lum George Mason University

      Phillip M. Lyons Jr. Sam Houston State University

      Tamara D. Madensen University of Nevada, Las Vegas

      Jon Maskaly University of South Florida

      Robert Morin Western Nevada College

      Bernadette T. Muscat California State University, Fresno

      Richard W. Myers Colorado Springs, Colorado, Police Department (Retired)

      Timothy N. Oettmeier Houston, Texas, Police Department

      Willard M. Oliver Sam Houston State University

      Michael J. Palmiotto Wichita State University

      Cynthia E. Pappas Office of Community Oriented Policing Services

      Troy C. Payne University of Alaska, Anchorage

      Kenneth J. Peak University of Nevada, Reno

      Ken Pease Jill Dando Institute, University College London

      Elizabeth B. Perkins Morehead State University

      Jordan C. Pickering University of Missouri, St. Louis

      Steven Pitts Reno, Nevada, Police Department

      Rachel Boba Santos Florida Atlantic University

      Joseph A. Schafer Southern Illinois University, Carbondale

      Matthew C. Scheider U.S. Department of Justice

      Michael S. Scott University of Wisconsin

      Ellen Scrivner Public Safety Innovations

      Susan M. Shah Vera Institute of Justice

      Ronald C. Sloan Colorado Bureau of Investigation

      Deborah L. Spence U.S. Department of Justice

      B. Grant Stitt University of Nevada, Reno

      Cody W. Telep George Mason University

      Julie D. Wartell The Analysis Group

      Robert Wasserman Strategic Policy Partnership

      Sandra R. Webb U.S. Department of Justice

      Robert R. Weidner University of Minnesota, Duluth

      Deborah Lamm Weisel North Carolina Central University

      Robert L. Werling California State University, Stanislaus

      Robert V. Wolf Center for Court Innovation

      Jihong Zhao Sam Houston State University



      Robert Peel’s Metropolitan Police Act of 1829 is enacted by UK Parliament; he becomes well known for his view that “the police are the public, and the public are the police.”

      1840s to 1930s:

      U.S. policing is in its political era.


      Full-time, preventive police force is initiated in the United States in New York City.


      August Vollmer is elected town marshal in Berkeley, California; as part of many “firsts,” he soon began arguing that policing is multifaceted and should be viewed from multiple social science and medical perspectives.


      August Vollmer’s article, “The Policeman as Social Worker” (Proceedings, 26th Convention of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, pp. 32–38), encourages police to develop programs to attack youth crime at its roots.

      1930s to 1980s:

      U.S. policing is in its reform era.


      The Wickersham Commission issues 14 reports, including many recommendations that address police and politics, officers’ standards and salaries, and use of women in policing.


      National Institute on Police and Community Relations (NIPCR) is founded at Michigan State University.


      St. Louis (Missouri) Police Department initiates the first computer-aided dispatch (CAD), which enhances its communications operation and improves patrol deployment.


      National Center on Police and Community Relations at Michigan State University begins to conduct national surveys on police-community relations.


      San Diego (California) police, as part of several research projects in the department, conduct the first empirical study of community policing.

      Early 1970s:

      Police patrol is redesigned based on motivators, leading to team policing, which was adopted by many agencies as a means of focusing on addressing community concerns and increasing police effectiveness by permanently assigning a group of police officers to a particular small geographic area or neighborhood; the team of officers was responsible for providing patrol and investigative services as well as developing appropriate police strategies and programs for that neighborhood.


      National Neighborhood Watch Program is founded within the National Sheriffs’ Association.


      Oscar Newman coins the term defensible space.


      Team policing is examined in seven U.S. cities by Sherman, Milton, and Kelly in Team policing: Seven case studies.


      George Kelling and colleagues Pate, Dieckman, and Brown report their findings of the Kansas City preventive patrol experiment in The Kansas City Preventive Patrol Experiment: A summary report.


      RAND Corporation publishes The criminal investigation process, Volume I: Summary and policy implications, a report by Greenwood and Petersilia examining the role of detectives, concluding that the single most important factor in solving a case was contained in information supplied by the victim to the initial, responding patrol officer.


      Split-force patrol experiment is conducted in Wilmington, Delaware.


      C. Ray Jeffery refines and expands the crime prevention through environmental design (CPTED) theory.


      Police Foundation begins evaluating foot patrol in 28 New Jersey cities, with Newark as the primary evaluation site.


      Twelve police chiefs meet at a three-day seminar in Madison, Wisconsin, to explore the problem-oriented policing concept; emphasis is placed on examining policing’s “means over ends” syndrome and to become more concerned with the “end product” of their efforts; the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) subsequently includes further development of the concept in its research program.


      Lawrence Cohen and Marcus Felson espouse their routine activities theory (which seeks to explain how physical and social environments create crime opportunities by the intersection of a “likely” offender, a “suitable” target, and the absence of a “capable guardian” against crime, such as a police officer or security guard) and the problem analysis triangle (which postulates that in order for a crime to occur, three elements, which form the crime triangle, are required: an offender, a victim/target, and a location).


      Herman Goldstein publishes “Improving Policing: A Problem-Oriented Approach” in Crime & Delinquency, advocating for problem-oriented policing: that police proactively identify and address root causes of problems.

      1980s to present:

      Policing in the United States is in the community era.


      Situational crime prevention theory is espoused by Ronald V. Clarke in the British Journal of Criminology article, “Situational Crime Prevention: Theory and Practice.”


      Fear reduction studies in Houston, Texas; Newark, New Jersey; and elsewhere provide empirical data on the effectiveness of key community policing tactics.


      Response time analysis is conducted in the Kansas City (Missouri) Police Department.


      Analysis of Newark (New Jersey) Foot Patrol Experiment suggests several positive outcomes if police spend more time on foot in their neighborhoods.


      National Neighborhood Foot Patrol Center is established at Michigan State University.


      National Crime Prevention Council is founded.


      Research is conducted on experimental foot patrols in Flint, Michigan.


      Robert Trojanowicz conducts an evaluation of the Neighborhood Foot Patrol Program in Flint, Michigan, finding that it was a distinct success: crime and calls for service were down in the 14 experimental areas; with certain functions, foot patrol officers were more efficient than were motorized officers; and residents of the experimental foot patrol areas reported feeling safer in their neighborhoods.


      James Q. Wilson and George L. Kelling coauthor “Broken Windows: The Police and Neighborhood Safety” in the March issue of Atlantic Monthly.


      The first Executive Session on Policing is convened, cosponsored by the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) and Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, to consider policy recommendations for policing.


      The National Center for Community Policing is founded at Michigan State University.


      New York City Police Department launches its Community Patrol Officer Program (CPOP) to identify neighborhood problems and develop strategies.


      Evaluation of the Minneapolis Domestic Violence Experiment is conducted by Sherman and Berk in “The Specific Deterrent Effects of Arrest for Domestic Assault” in the American Sociological Review; they conclude that batterers who are arrested are less likely to re-batter than those batterers who are not arrested.


      Newport News (Virginia) study finds problem-oriented policing to be an effective approach to addressing many community problems; officers and researchers develop the SARA (scanning, analysis, response, assessment) problem-solving model.


      Evaluation commences of the Madison (Wisconsin) Police Department’s new organizational design (both structural and managerial), intended to support community-oriented and problem-oriented policing in an Experimental Police District.


      George L. Kelling publishes “Police and Communities: The Quiet Revolution” in Perspectives on Policing, No. 1; he and Mark H. Moore also publish “The Evolving Strategy of Policing” in Perspectives on Policing, No. 4.


      Houston (Texas) Police Chief Lee P. Brown describes the development of Neighborhood Oriented Policing in the Houston Police Department; he later authors a “practical guide” for adopting community policing.


      Sherman, Buerger, and Gartin examine the Minneapolis’ Repeat Call Address Policing (RECAP) program, indicating that police could identify the “hot spots” of repeat calls in a community and thereby devise strategies to reduce the number of calls for service.


      Intelligence-led policing (ILP) is developed as a strategy in Great Britain, where crime levels had risen sharply.


      San Diego, California, is selected to host the first national conference on problem-oriented policing.


      Herman Goldstein’s Problem-Oriented Policing is published by McGraw-Hill and Temple University Press.


      Robert Trojanowicz and Bonnie Bucqueroux’s Community Policing: A Contemporary Perspective is published by Anderson Publishing Company.


      The U.S. Department of Justice launches Operation Weed and Seed, a key strategy of their antiviolence, antigang, and antidrug community revitalization programs with primary focus on high-crime neighborhoods; enforcement is used first to “weed” out crime, violence, and gangs and to stabilize the conditions in high-crime communities; then resources are identified and mobilized to “seed” the revitalization of the communities.


      Community Policing Consortium is founded, composed of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, the National Sheriffs’ Association, the Police Executive Research Forum, and the Police Foundation.


      The Herman Goldstein Award is first offered, recognizing innovative and effective problem-solving efforts by police officers and agencies in the United States and abroad.


      Studies of repeat victimization and its implications for crime prevention are initiated in London (UK) by Graham Farrell and Ken Pease.


      “Tipping point” studies of neighborhood thresholds of crime (first noted in a paper by Thomas Shelling in 1971) begin to appear.


      The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, authorizing $8.8 billion in expenditures over six years, is enacted.


      The federal Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) is created to distribute and monitor funds under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act and provide numerous other functions related to and in support of community policing.


      Three-year Community Policing Demonstration Program is launched in 16 cities to design, demonstrate, and assess a comprehensive, departmentwide community policing prototype.


      CompStat (comparative statistics or computer statistics), a crime management process used in the problem-solving process, is introduced by the New York City Police Department.


      Bureau of Justice Assistance publishes Understanding Community Policing: A Framework for Action.


      Office of Community Oriented Policing Services funds 25,000 more officers; Lawrence Sherman authors “Hot Spots of Crime and Criminal Careers of Places” in Crime Prevention Studies.


      Office of Community Oriented Policing Services has funded more than 52,000 community policing officers and announces antigang, domestic violence, and problem-solving partnership initiatives.


      Office of Community Oriented Policing Services establishes a nationwide network of Regional Community Policing Institutes (RCPIs).


      National Institute of Justice establishes the Crime Mapping Research Center (CMRC).


      Systematic review of more than 500 crime prevention practices is prepared for Congress by Lawrence Sherman and colleagues, concerning which prevention programs work, do not work, are promising, and have not been tested adequately.


      Office of Community Oriented Policing Services announces that 75,000 new community policing officers had been funded nationwide; its monograph, Problem Solving Tips: A Guide to Reducing Crime and Disorder Through Problem-Solving Partnerships, is published.


      Office of Community Oriented Policing Services launches its Problem-Oriented Guides series, to summarize knowledge about how police can analyze and respond to specific crime and disorder problems.


      Office of Community Oriented Policing Services funds its 100,000th community policing officer.


      National evaluation of eight Operation Weed and Seed sites is performed, concerning their implementation and measurable outcomes related to crime and public safety. Although the results were not highly significant statistically, they were consistently favorable: seeding programs provided services that would not have been available without the program, additional structure and discipline were provided to young people in the area, six of the sites showed declines in Part I crimes (homicide, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft).


      National evaluation of the problem-solving partnerships grant program is launched, wherein the federal COPS Office awarded grants to 468 police agencies to help solve crime and disorder problems, form community partnerships, and engage in problem-solving activities.


      Willard M. Oliver publishes his descriptions of three generations of community policing: (1) innovation (1979–1986); (2) diffusion (1987–1994); and (3) institutionalization, (1995 to the present).


      Office of Community Oriented Policing Services launches its Police as Problem-Solvers and Peacemakers program, awarding $1 million to five law enforcement agencies.


      Office of Community Oriented Policing Services launches two series of publications, COPS Innovations and Problem-Oriented Policing Guides; by 2011 more than 60 problem-solving guides had been published.


      The first Problem-Oriented Guide, authored by Michael S. Scott, was published, entitled Assaults in and Around Bars


      Center for Problem-Oriented Policing is created.


      The Crime Mapping Research Center evolves into the Mapping and Analysis for Public Safety (MAPS) program.


      The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is formed, immediately hiring 80,000 new federal employees and committing $32 billion in 2003 toward safeguarding the nation.


      Office of Community Oriented Policing Services awards $23 million in grants to support the network of 31 RCPIs and the Community Policing Consortium (CPC); it also launches the Homeland Security Overtime Program (HSOP).


      An evaluation of gang hot spots policing in Chicago, Illinois, is funded by NIJ, to determine whether new policing strategies contributed to significant decreases in crime in the 2000s.


      Police use global positioning for monitoring police vehicle location across real time/space, for CompStat and other directed patrol strategies (e.g., hot spots policing).


      The second Executive Session is convened, cosponsored by NIJ and the Kennedy School of Government, on Policing and Public Safety.


      Predictive-policing conferences and articles emerge; predictive policing is a crime analysis tool using various analyses, technologies, and ILP for crime prevention strategies and tactics.


      In August, the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services announces that it will not continue funding the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing.


      Long before police agencies were organized and specialized for peacekeeping as we know them today, people expected designated village or community protectors to keep them safe from harm and to solve their problems. Beginning in the 9th century with Britain’s citizen night watch, and continuing in about 1066 BCE with the function of the shire reeve (the forerunner of the modern-day sheriff), certain persons were assigned or volunteered to watch over their neighbors and to identify and address problems. Of course, policing has evolved tremendously since those early times, and today’s community policing and problem-solving strategy—indeed, the contemporary community era of policing—represents the pinnacle of that evolution. At its root, however, community policing and problem solving remains a relatively simplistic endeavor: keeping the peace and maintaining order. As examples, and to begin to grasp the field, consider the following scenarios:

      Scenario 1: During the late 1950s in a small midwestern town, the chief of police received several complaints concerning a growing nuisance: someone was allowing his chickens to run loose throughout the neighborhood. The chief summoned Officer John—an amicable, lank, grey-haired veteran lawman who probably could not remember when he had made his last arrest. The chief ordered the officer to deal with the problem and thus stem the neighbors’ complaints. Upon Officer John’s return to the station house a few hours later, the chief demanded to know whether he had resolved the situation once and for all; Officer John replied that he had. The chief demanded to know if John had arrested the owner of the vagrant fowl; Officer John replied that he had not. Pressing further, the chief demanded to know what Officer John had done to restore order to the neighborhood. “Well, chief,” Officer John said, “I bought all the man’s chickens, and we loaded them all up and took them to my house and turned them loose in my yard.”

      Scenario 2: During the mid-1990s, a convenience store owner in a lower class area of a medium-size western city frequently called the police to complain about drug dealers conducting “business” at a pay telephone located at the store’s front entrance; he was concerned about the drug dealers’ presence, and that many children and other customers daily overheard the buying and selling transactions. Officer Ben went to the scene, assessed the problem, and then contacted the local telephone company to request that they reprogram the pay telephone so that it made only outgoing calls, thus removing the ability of the drug traffickers to receive incoming calls from customers. The traffickers were forced to leave the convenience store.

      Viewed in the light of today’s policing, the above scenarios might appear to be ludicrous (today’s police officers can neither avoid making arrests nor use out-of-pocket resources to resolve neighborhood complaints) or incomplete (the drug dealers who vacated the convenience store may not have ceased their trafficking altogether, but merely took their business elsewhere). However, on closer examination the scenarios have one critical point in common: Both officers solved the immediate problem using creative strategies that did not involve an arrest or other traditional, reactive, short-term measures. Furthermore, these scenarios provide a glimpse into how policing was conducted during its infancy as it was developing and evolving in England, when the emphasis was on closeness to and working with the community to resolve neighborhood crime and disorder.

      As will be seen below, the police have always known how to solve problems. The difference now, however, is that during policing’s earlier eras, officers who confronted problems typically did not possess an in-depth understanding of the nature and underlying causes of those crime issues (becoming “street criminologists”), nor did they receive much guidance or support, or possess sophisticated methods (e.g., crime analysis, mapping tools, surveys) to support those efforts. The routine application of problem-solving techniques is new, however, and is grounded on two fundamental tenets: Problem-solving strategy can be applied by police officers (as well as non-sworn personnel) as part of their routine daily work to effectively reduce or eliminate neighborhood crime and disorder. It affords great challenges for today’s patrol officers, making this a wonderful time in which to be engaged in the analytical and creative work of policing.

      The Field

      The seeds of community policing were sown in London in 1829, when Sir Robert Peel (the founder of London’s police force) offered that “the police are the public and … the public are the police,” and by establishing patrol beats, officers could get to know their citizens and thus have better opportunities to gather information concerning crime and disorder. In the United States, however, that close police-public association over time often led to powerful political influences and corruption (in terms of who was hired, promoted, and could bring in the most votes), which in turn led to the onset of the reform era in the 1930s (including the removal of the police from the community and political influence, the creation of civil service systems, and so forth); for the next half-century, police operated as though they alone could control crime and thus maintained a level of detachment from the public.

      As a result, from the 1930s to the 1980s, the dominant police strategy under the reform era shifted to an emphasis on motorized patrol, rapid response time, numbers of arrests, and retrospective investigation of crimes; officer productivity was often measured quantitatively, including the number of miles driven during a duty shift, citations issued, arrests made, and so on. These strategies were not designed to address root community problems; rather, they were designed to detect crime and apprehend criminals—hence the image of the “crime fighter” cop.

      Following the social unrest of the 1960s and 1970s, this schism between the police and the public became so wide—fomented by increasing crime rates, frequent race riots, and five national commissions calling for sweeping changes in policing—that police agencies were forced to open their doors to researchers and reveal their methods. Research findings indicated the reform-era police methods were ineffectual, so community policing began to gather momentum in the early 1980s and to develop partnerships between the police and those they served. In essence, the advent of community policing meant bringing back a modern version of Peel’s “bobbie on the beat,” with the police drawing on the public’s fount of knowledge concerning where problems recur and which criminals repeatedly offend. Society came to understand that new police methods and measures of effectiveness were required. Current wisdom holds that the police cannot unilaterally attack the burgeoning crime, drug, and gang problems that beset our society, draining our federal, state, and local resources. Communities must police themselves.

      Problem-oriented policing, which began to develop in the mid-1980s, was grounded in principles different from but complementary to community-oriented policing (thus, the term community-oriented policing and problem solving is widely used). Problem-oriented policing is a strategy that puts the community policing philosophy into practice. It advocates that police examine the underlying causes of recurring incidents of crime and disorder. The problem-solving process helps officers to identify problems, analyze them completely, develop response strategies, and assess the results. Police must be equipped to define more clearly and to understand more fully the problems they are expected to handle. They must recognize the relationships between and among incidents—for example, incidents involving the same behavior, the same address, or the same people. The police must therefore develop a commitment to analyzing problems—gather information from police files, from the minds of experienced officers, from other agencies of government, and from private sources as well. It can also require conducting house-to-house surveys and talking with victims, complainants, and offenders. It includes an uninhibited search for the most effective response to each problem, looking beyond just the criminal justice system to a wide range of alternatives; police must try to design a customized response that holds the greatest potential for dealing effectively with a specific problem in a specific place under specific conditions.

      Thousands of police agencies both in the United States and abroad have now implemented new strategies and practices for addressing crime and disorder, focusing on training officers and agencies to conduct more in-depth analyses of recurring problems; obtaining problem-solving assistance from other government organizations, businesses, social service agencies, and the community at large; and evaluating the resulting efforts by going far beyond mere arrests or the issuance of citations or warnings.

      These police agencies have broken away from their reactive, incident-driven methods that characterized the reform era. This change in philosophy and strategies goes far beyond merely creating a “crime prevention specialist” position, a “community relations unit,” a foot or bicycle patrol, or a neighborhood mini-station. Today, community-oriented policing and problem solving involves radical changes in police organizational culture and structures, management styles, and external relationships. It requires a cultural transformation with the entire police agency, involving changes in recruiting, training, awards systems, evaluation, and promotions. Furthermore, new technologies have been designed to effect this change; and personnel training, evaluation, and reward systems have all been altered to accommodate this philosophy. At its core, this approach embraces a closer collaboration between the police, the public, and other governmental agencies, so as to develop more thoughtful crime control and prevention strategies. It is a long-term process that involves redefining the role throughout the ranks, from chief down to street officer.

      To help to further discern community-oriented policing and problem solving as it compares with traditional policing, consider another scenario: In a relatively quiet neighborhood, police officers have recently responded to a series of disturbances. All of the disturbances—loud music, fighting, screeching tires, people displaying lewd behavior on and near the premises—appear to be related to a recently opened live-music dance club. In a month’s time, police officers have been sent to the club to restore order on more than 50 occasions. As per traditional practice, swing- (evening ) shift officers respond to the club and restore order for a short period of time; later, graveyard- (night) shift officers often must return to the club after midnight to again restore calm. Usually when officers arrive, however, the offenders are already gone, so a report is taken and the officer returns to the patrol car and leaves.

      Adopting the community policing and problem-solving approach, however, police would address this situation as follows, using the concept’s SARA (scanning, analysis, response, assessment) problem-solving process:

      While scanning the problem, the area patrol sergeant establishes that there have been large increases in the area’s calls for service (CFS) on both shifts, that several realtors had contacted council members to complain about declining market interest in the area, and that a local newspaper was about to run a story on the increase in vehicle burglaries, noise complaints, fighting, and other criminal or inappropriate behaviors in and around the club’s premises. Additional information is gathered from crime reports, the reporter who is writing the newspaper story, neighboring business owners, and the department’s crime analysis unit. Information is also gathered concerning possible zoning and health department violations. Officers first arrange a meeting wcrime analysis unit. Information is also gathered concerning possible zoning and health department violations. Officers first arrange a meeting with the club manager-operator and representatives from the city’s business licensing division, during which the consequences for continued problems are explained. This also results in the manager’s removal of an unsavory employee and his “following” of drug users and other undesirable characters at the club. The hours of the club’s live music are limited, and the manager and employees are trained in relevant sections of the municipal code covering disturbing the peace, minors in liquor establishments, trespassing laws, disorderly behaviors, and so on. The officers also arrange a meeting with the club’s landlord, who agrees to install more lights in the parking lots and a “sound wall” around the business to buffer the area residents. A later assessment reveals that a reduction in CFS in the area was realized, and area residents, although not entirely happy with the continuing existence of the business, acknowledged satisfaction from their complaints; no further newspaper stories appeared regarding the noise and disorder in the neighborhood.

      This scenario illustrates some of the differences between police responses to crime and disorder under the traditional reactive, incident-driven mode of policing and how a problem might be addressed under the community-oriented policing and problem-solving strategy.

      Rationale for the Encyclopedia

      It is apparent that the field of policing has witnessed tremendous change and growth during its span of nearly two centuries. With the ever-widening range of topics that now compose the field, there is no single extant reference source that captures the diverse and sophisticated nature of the discipline. In addition, with the increasing visibility of community-oriented policing and problem solving, and the fact that this strategy is both a science and a practice, there is a growing need for a single resource that explains the comprehensive nature of the field and is accessible to both experts and nonexperts. The Encyclopedia of Community Policing and Problem Solving was created to provide that service and to fill that void in the literature.

      This encyclopedia is thus also intended to serve a diverse audience, providing a basic resource for high school and college/university undergraduate students, beginning graduate students of criminal justice and related social sciences, lay audiences seeking a nontechnical description of the field and its practices, practitioners wishing to keep abreast of the changes and updates in the field, and even the doctoral-level academic seeking a portal into the discipline.

      Organization of the Entries

      This encyclopedia has explicitly attempted to examine every substantive topic that pertains to community-oriented policing and problem solving. That is, of course, a lofty goal and one that, arguably, could not be achieved. Nonetheless, the editorial board and I have attempted to be as comprehensive as possible without being overly redundant. To accomplish this, the entries include several associated topics and cross-references.

      To assist the reader in navigating the encyclopedia, a Reader’s Guide is provided, which includes an alphabetical listing of the entries in nine broad categories or themes; then, within each theme the individual entries are also presented alphabetically. Finally, following each entry is a Further Readings section that can take the reader to the next level.

      Note: It may be helpful for the reader to begin by reading entries in the “Foundations” section in order to better understand how community policing and problem solving evolved, several key definitions and practices, and a number of related concepts. Similarly, it may be good to defer reading entries in the “Future Considerations” section until last, after developing a contemporary understanding of the concept.

      These nine thematic categories are arranged alphabetically, as follows: The first describes how the police agency’s culture must be changed—in some cases, radically—to accommodate this strategy. The next category discusses crime analysis technologies and techniques that are needed and exist for performing the work of police problem solving, and the following section concerns methods for evaluating and assessing community-oriented policing initiatives.

      Then an examination of the evolution and foundations of policing in general—and community policing in specific—are presented, to include its British origins and subsequent development in the United States (as it experienced movement through three distinct eras). The meaning and importance of community and partnerships is examined in this section as well as some of the early experiments and research studies of police functions. This category generally serves to explain how and why community-oriented policing and problem solving came into existence.

      The next thematic category reviews the future of this concept; specifically discussed are the possible impact on community-oriented policing and problem solving that will be caused by future crime and demographics. Then several public safety issues are examined that lay at the root of the need for police problem solving; included are such crime problems as domestic violence, drug crimes, gangs, and youthful offenders.

      The foci of the following category are the supporting legislation and organizations that helped to foment the development of, and funding, literature, training, and personnel for community-oriented policing and problem solving. Then, the requisite training and curriculum for sworn and non-sworn personnel are discussed.

      Finally, a review is presented next of “what works”—selected examples of community-oriented policing and problem-solving strategies that are in use in a variety of settings, including colleges and universities, public housing, rural areas, and state patrol agencies. Furthermore, this section includes characteristics of community policing strategies for addressing the aforementioned public safety issues, including domestic violence, drug abuse, gangs, and other types of crimes.

      To provide additional examples of and insight into the processes and practices of community policing and problem solving, selected case studies are shown describing actual problem-solving initiatives throughout the United States; most of the examples shown are winners or finalists for the highly reputed Herman Goldstein Award for Excellence in Problem-Oriented Policing, conferred annually by the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing. Each case study demonstrates the use of the SARA problem-solving model and includes the kinds of creative responses that police can develop to address crime and disorder.

      Long entries, approximately 3,500 words in length, represent the most important and well-developed topics in the field, for which extensive and general research and theory exists. Medium-length entries, approximately 2,500 words in length, discuss subjects that have attained significance in the field as core topics. Short entries of 1,500 words for the most part describe topics that are relatively new to the field or that are less central to understanding community-oriented policing and problem solving.

      It will be seen throughout that emphasis is placed on the practical or applied aspects of community-oriented policing and problem solving. Indeed, both esteemed practitioners as well as scholars have been selected to contribute the entries (and many of them possess both practitioner and academic experience). Responses to crime and neighborhood disorder must be realistically tied to available resources and police ingenuity. Furthermore, in these times of fiscal crisis and greater accountability, it is essential to know what works and will afford cost effectiveness. Policy decisions are also implicated, and the best way to make such decisions is through intelligent thinking, sound reasoning, and open discussions— thus being able to better effect long-term solutions to society’s problems rather than short-term fixes.

      Viewed in total, this encyclopedia provides a ready reference for comprehensively learning how, why, and what the police have done to effect a sea change toward bringing about a profoundly new and better approach to their mission of “serve and protect.”


      This project had its genesis with my being contacted by Jim Brace-Thompson, Senior Acquisition Editor with SAGE Publications. Jim, along with his staff, did the requisite marketing analyses to establish that such an encyclopedia was desirable and necessary; we remained in contact throughout the project duration, and Jim served as a valuable resource throughout. My primary point of contact as the project developed, however, was Carole Maurer, Senior Developmental Editor, whose steady hand at the keel (and exceptional editing skills) helped my editorial “apprenticeship” greatly and kept the project on course. SAGE Reference Tracking training and operation was provided by Laura Notton and Leticia Gutierrez. All of these SAGE professionals were exceedingly professional, patient, and efficient from beginning to end, and a huge debt of gratitude is owed to them.

      I also appreciate the tremendous assistance of my editorial board, whose names and affiliations are listed in the front matter; I am obviously biased, but I have to believe that this group of experts is as stellar as any that could be convened for this purpose. They, too, realize that this project represents an exciting yet challenging opportunity to organize and convey the body of knowledge that comprises this discipline. I am very pleased and proud that they opted to join me in this effort. The board was most invaluable in reviewing the headword list that guided the essay contributions, and provided me with many names of possible contributors.

      Certainly my editorial assistant—also one of my most capable and intelligent former students and now a successful academic in her own right— Pamela Everett, was key to this project as well. Pam concentrated on several key portions of each entry to ensure they met certain criteria and specifications. As has been the case during the nearly two decades I have observed Pam perform such tasks, her work was stellar.

      Finally, this encyclopedia is most of all a testament to those contributing authors who devoted their time, effort, and expertise toward developing their entries and thus served to explicate community policing and problem solving. I wish each of them the very best in both their professional and personal endeavors.

      Kenneth J. Peak
    • Appendix: Community-Oriented Policing and Problem-Solving Case Studies

      Following are brief descriptions of selected problem-solving initiatives throughout the United States. Several were adapted from submissions to the federal Center for Problem-Oriented Policing for the Herman Goldstein Award for Excellence in Problem-Oriented Policing, which is designated each year at the national conference of the Center for Problem-Oriented Policing. Others were adapted from joint publications of the U.S. Department of Justice and the Police Executive Research Forum.

      Note for each case study the creative responses that were developed to address the problems, following a scanning and thorough analysis for each. Where information is available, assessment information of the response is given as well.

      Following is a brief explanation of these four stages of the SARA (scanning, analysis, response, assessment) problem-solving model:

      Scanning is where officers first look for a pattern or persistent, repeat incidents, and whether or not a problem exists and whether further analysis is needed.

      Analysis is the heart of the problem-solving process; its purpose is to learn as much as possible about problems in order to identify their causes; information is gathered from sources inside and outside an officer’s agency about the scope, nature, and causes of problems.

      Response is implementing the most effective, tailored means of dealing with the problem; responses may be wide ranging and involve private and other government organizations (e.g., prosecutor’s office for new ordinances, health department to condemn an abandoned home being frequented by drug abusers).

      Assessment determines whether the responses implemented were effective, and might include such criteria as numbers of arrests, levels of reported crime, response times, clearance rates, citizen complaints, and various workload indicators, such as calls for service and the number of field interviews conducted; if not effective, then new solutions must be developed and implemented.

      Farm Laborer Traffic Problems: California’s Central Valley

      The following case study is based on a serious traffic problem in central California that persisted for several years during the mid- and late 1990s and was successfully addressed by the California Highway Patrol.


      One early morning in August 1999 during the peak of harvest season in California’s Central Valley, 15 farm workers climbed into a 1983 van to go to work; soon thereafter the van slammed into a commercial vehicle making a U-turn on the road, killing 13 of the van’s passengers. The van’s driver, who had a lengthy record of driving violations, was arrested for operating the vehicle while under the influence.

      Collisions of farm-labor vehicles were not uncommon in this area during the peak harvest season (May through September), when about 300,000 farm-labor jobs are available; with this influx comes increased traffic congestion, road infractions, and operation of unsafe vehicles.


      Analyzing farm-labor vehicle collisions proved to be challenging for the California Highway Patrol (CHP) due to discrepancies in how data were recorded. At a minimum, however, thorough data analysis showed an estimated 187 farm-labor collisions, with 20 fatalities and 121 injuries, during a recent three-year period. On average, traffic fatalities were 42% higher in the area during the peak harvest months. An examination of relevant statutes and regulatory laws showed room for improvement. For example, farm-labor vehicles were exempt from the state’s mandatory seat belt law. Furthermore, language barriers and the farm-working culture affected outreach efforts and hindered efforts to improve farm worker safety.


      With the support of the CHP, the California State Legislature passed two bills to enhance the safety of farm workers and their vehicles. These laws made provisions for the following:

      • Mandatory use of seat belts for farm workers in farm-labor vehicles
      • Strengthening of safety and nonpunitive inspection and certification requirements for these vehicles
      • Increase in CHP’s personnel strength to work specifically with farm-labor vehicles
      • Coordinated public education campaign, using town meetings and print and electronic media to announce inspection dates and places and to inform the farming community about licensing and safety requirements

      During the following year, for the first time in a decade, there were no farm-worker fatalities resulting from farm-labor collisions; in addition, collisions involving these vehicles decreased 73%. These positive results have continued to the present day.

      Source: California Highway Patrol. (2001). Corridor Safety Program—A collaborative approach to traffic safety. Excellence in Problem-Oriented Policing, 5–14. Retrieved from http://www.popcenter.org/library/awards/goldstein/2001/01–09(W).pdf

      Produce Market Problem: Miami, Florida

      In 2000, several problems occurred in a produce market in Miami, Florida—a market that is a hub for the commercial shipping of fresh produce for the southeast United States. The following cases study describes how the police addressed these various problems.


      Miami’s Allapattah Produce Market is the center for the commercial shipping of fresh produce for the southeastern United States. Local supermarkets, cruise ships, and mom-and-pop stores rely on the market for their daily produce as well. Over several years, the market area experienced an increase in the homeless population as well as in crime, causing the overall quality of life in the market to decline in this three-by-five-block area. Because of these problems, business operators allowed their facilities to deteriorate, and eventually garbage-strewn parking lots, vacant lots, improper disposal of rotted produce, and overflowing garbage bins became more prevalent and contributed to general pollution and sanitation and health hazards. Traffic problems also abounded.


      Officers analyzed calls for service and crime statistics for the market and surrounding neighborhoods, noting an average of 23 business burglaries per month in the market; they also interviewed patrol officers and code-enforcement personnel. They found that the location and layout of the market contributed to traffic congestion and noise problems. The fundamental problem at the market was that businesses had been allowed to operate with very little oversight by organizations charged with regulating health, sanitation, and pollution problems. The vendors’ illegal disposal of unusable produce attracted homeless persons and drug dealers to the area. Nearby residents suffered from criminal victimization, traffic congestion, and decreasing property values.


      A response plan was designed to mitigate the problems, causes, and underlying conditions. The following five goals were established for the response plan:

      • Significantly reduce the pollution and improve sanitation and health standards.
      • Reduce traffic congestion and enhance the market’s transportation infrastructure.
      • Reduce criminal activity in the area and fear of crime in the surrounding residential neighborhoods.
      • Reduce the homeless population in the area.
      • Promote a partnership between the commercial entities and Miami officials.

      A key component of the plan was an increased presence of police and code-enforcement personnel, particularly to explain the response plan to business owners and vendors, who were urged to comply with code requirements by constructing locked, fenced enclosures around their individual trash bins.

      A business owners’ association was formed. To alleviate the traffic problems, officers worked with the commercial truck operators to develop improved parking, unloading, and turnaround facilities; a complete road redesign project was initiated for the market area.

      As the project moved forward, homeless persons moved out of the area, and officers and business owners spearheaded a series of area beautification projects (with the assistance of a $600,000 state grant), including improvements in landscaping, lighting, and signage. Officers and business association owners also produced a video for vendors that explained proper disposal of garbage.


      The overall reported crime rate and calls for service in and around the target area declined during the following year, with reported business burglaries decreasing from an average of 23 per month to fewer than five per month. The transient population disappeared almost entirely, and traffic congestion was significantly reduced. Health and sanitation hazards were also reduced or eliminated; nearly all businesses were brought into compliance with codes and regulations. New businesses were attracted to the area, and annual sales of all businesses in the market increased.

      Source: Columba, M. (2001). The roots of a problem: Miami’s Allapattah produce market revitalization protect.

      Problem Solving Quarterly, 14 (2), 4–6. Retrieved from http://www.popcenter.org/library/psq/2001/Summer_2001_Vol_14_No_2.pdf

      Domestic Violence: Charlotte– Mecklenburg, North Carolina

      This case study of domestic violence in Charlotte– Mecklenburg, North Carolina, describes how a single officer’s problem-solving efforts led to a more effective analysis approach and a reduction in domestic crime rates.


      For several years, the Charlotte–Mecklenburg Police Department had made domestic assaults a priority and worked to analyze those cases, intervene, and reduce their occurrence in the community. In October 2000, however, an officer working a particularly serious domestic assault case became concerned about the overall number of domestic assaults in his patrol district for that year: 305 domestic assaults, or 30% of the total assaults for that year. He began looking for previous reports involving the victim and suspect in this specific case and found a number of reports for such other “indicator” offenses as vandalism and threats. This examination of the case reports indicated that rather than a repeat call location being the “hot spot” for crime, the officer surmised that tracking the participants might be a better indicator of future violence.


      A more thorough analysis of domestic assault reports showed that the average victim had filed nine previous police reports, most involving the same suspect but sometimes crossing police district boundaries. Many of the prior reports were for other indicator crimes, such as trespassing, threatening, and stalking. Most repeat call locations were domestic situations. It became clear that it was best to regard the victim and suspect as hot spots instead of the traditional fixed geographic location.


      Officers developed a tailored response plan for each repeat offense case, including zero tolerance of criminal behavior by the suspect and use of other criminal justice and social service agencies. A Police Watch program was implemented in which systematic zone checks of the victim’s residence and work-place were made when appropriate. A Domestic Violence Hotline voicemail system for victims was also initiated, which victims could use to report miscellaneous incidents involving a suspect. Officers developed detailed case files and created a separate database with victim and offender background data. The database tracks victims and offenders as hot spots moving from one address to another and across patrol district boundaries.


      Repeat calls for service were reduced by 98.9% during the following year at seven target locations. Domestic assaults decreased 7% in this targeted patrol district while increasing 29% in the rest of the city. Only 14.8% of domestic violence victims in the project reported repeat victimization as opposed to a benchmark figure of 35%. No complaints against officers were generated by officer contacts with residents.

      Source: Charlotte–Mecklenburg Police Department. (2002). Baker One domestic violence intervention project. Retrieved from http://www.popcenter.org/library/awards/goldstein/2002/02–09(F).pdf

      Juvenile Drug Trafficking: Tulsa, Oklahoma

      The following case study demonstrates the kinds of problems that can plague a residential neighborhood once the area has deteriorated over a period of two decades.


      During the late 1990s, North Tulsa experienced consistently higher crime rates than the rest of the city. Nearly half of the violent crimes reported occurred in this section of the city, which for a long time has been a depressed, low-income area, lacking in adequate services. The Tulsa Housing Authority (THA) was established to support the city’s low-income public housing.

      In an attempt to determine the nature of the crime problem in North Tulsa, a special management team of Tulsa police officials conducted a study and decided to concentrate on five public housing complexes where high crime rates and blatant street dealing existed.


      A resident survey, conducted by patrol officers in each of the public housing complexes, revealed that 86% of the occupants lived in households headed by single females. Officers assigned to the target area noticed in the housing complexes large groups of school-age youth who appeared to be selling drugs during school hours. A comparison of the dropout and suspension rates in North Tulsa schools with those in other areas of the city determined that the city’s northernmost high school, serving most of the high school-age youth in the five complexes, had the highest suspension (4.4%) and dropout rates (10%) of any school in the city. It also reported the highest number of pregnant teenagers in the school system. Officers also knew that few of the juveniles observed in the complexes had legitimate jobs, and that several of them appeared to be lured into drug dealing because of the easy money. One youth commented, “Why should I work for minimum wage at McDonald’s when I can make $400 to $1,400 a day selling dope?”

      Supervisors at the Uniform Division North precinct arranged volunteers into two-officer foot teams, assigned to the complexes on 8-hour shifts. The teams were expected to visit and establish a rapport with residents to assure them that police were present to ensure their safety. Within a month, officers verified juvenile involvement in drug trafficking. As officers approached drug hangouts within the complexes, young lookouts (ages 12 to 16) would call out “Rollers!” to alert the dealers to discard their drugs and disperse. On those occasions when officers made an arrest, the youth often reappeared in the complex the next day. A strategy was needed to provide programs to deter youth from selling or using drugs.


      Officers S. and N., assigned to the foot patrol at one of the complexes, believed that the youth needed programs that would improve their self-esteem, teach them values, and impart decision-making skills. To provide positive role models for young men, the officers started a Boy Scout troop in the complex for boys between 11 and 17 years of age. In addition, they started a group called SHARE (stand, help, and rid evil), which worked to raise money for needy residents and police-sponsored youth activities. As a SHARE representative, Officer J. spoke at civic group meetings and local churches throughout the city to solicit donations and increase awareness of the needs of young people on the city’s north side. Those receiving help from SHARE agreed to participate in programs geared to improving life and job skills. Volunteers came from the churches and the civic groups where Officer J. spoke.

      Officers B. and F., foot patrol officers at another complex, developed plans for unemployed young people. Officer B. organized a group called The Young Ladies Awareness Group that hosted weekly guest speakers to instruct young women in how to dress for job interviews and employment, with role-playing officers demonstrating proper conduct during interviews. The women were also instructed in résumé writing and makeup, hair care, and personal hygiene.

      Officer F. worked with a government program called the Private Industry Training Council (PITC) that sponsored sessions on goal setting and self-esteem building to prepare young people to enter job training programs, also offered by PITC. Officer F. also helped area youth apply for birth certificates, which were required to enter the PITC program, and he arranged for volunteers from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol and a local school to help teach driver’s education. Officers even provided funds for some young people who were unable to pay the fees to obtain birth certificates or driver’s licenses.

      The foot patrol officers became involved in a day camp project conducted at the Ranch, a 20-acre northside property confiscated by police from a convicted drug dealer. The project used the property for a day camp for disadvantaged youth recruited from the target projects. Tulsa’s mayor and chief of police came to the Ranch to meet with the youth, as did psychologists, teachers, ministers, and celebrities. Guests tried to convey the value of productive and drug-free lives, among other ethical values.

      To combat dropout and suspension problems, a program called Adopt a School involved police officers patrolling schools during classes, not to make arrests but rather to establish rapport with the students. The program was intended to reduce the likelihood of student involvement in illegal activities.


      The police noted a decline in street sales of illegal drugs in the five target complexes. Youth reacted positively to the officers’ efforts to help them, and the programs seemed to deter them from drug involvement. The police department continued to address the problems of poor youth in North Tulsa. Foot patrol officers met with the Task Force for Drug Free Public Housing to inform the different city, county, and statewide officials of the needs of youth in public housing. Other social service agencies began working with the police department, establishing satellite offices on the north side of the city, scheduling programs, and requesting police support in their efforts.

      Source: Tulsa Police Department. (1989). Problem-oriented approach to drug enforcement. Retrieved from http://www.popcenter.org/library/unpublished/CaseStudies/131_Problem_Oriented_Approach_to_Drug_Enforcement_Four_Case_.pdf

      Mobile Home Park Problems: Reno, Nevada

      Mobile home parks, providing affordable living, often have very transient and dense populations and crime problems. The following case study concerns a park problem that began to develop over time in an area recently converted from a campground and successfully addressed by the Reno Police Department.


      Panther Valley is a small secluded community of approximately 3,500 residents located in a northeast section of Reno, Nevada. It comprises middle-to low-income single family residences, a small industrial park, and a KOA campground that was converted into a residential trailer park. The trailer park contains 150 trailer spaces that are rented on a weekly or monthly basis. Residents of the park represent the area’s lowest socioeconomic status population.

      A short time after the conversion of the KOA, there was a significant increase in calls for service in the trailer park that were related to disturbances, thefts, burglaries, and drug activity. Residents living outside the park also complained about its deteriorated condition and its residents, whom they suspected were responsible for the increased crime in the area. A swing shift supervisor for North Patrol, approved a request to work on the problems in Panther Valley as a problem-oriented policing project.


      A crime analysis for the area found there were significant increases in the number of burglaries, vandalism, larcenies, assaults, and family disturbances. There were also increased calls for service related to speeding vehicles, juvenile disturbances, and drug activity.

      Sgt. T. and Officer H. conducted an extensive environmental survey of the area and identified several factors that contributed to the park’s deteriorated condition. Abandoned vehicles cluttered the narrow streets, creating hazardous conditions for children who used them as a playground. Most of the teenagers living in the park were unsupervised and suspected of being responsible for the majority of drug activity and vandalism. Trailer spaces were improperly marked or illegible, creating a slower response by police and fire. Poor lighting existed throughout the park, making it convenient for conducting drug transactions and other crimes. Public bathrooms were inoperable and had become “offices” for narcotic activity. Residents, afraid to use the public bathrooms, often urinated and defecated in the open spaces around the park. The park swimming pool was not used because of sanitation and filtering problems; it became a dumping ground for refuse because of the lack of garbage containers in the park. Residents also deposited garbage in the unrented trailer spaces throughout the park.


      Officer H. contacted the manager of the trailer park, learning that new owners were in the process of purchasing it. He discussed the problems with the manager and suggested they conduct a series of meetings with residents to discuss crime-related incidents and environmental factors contributing to the park’s poor condition. The following responses ensued:

      • New tenant rules were established for residents, including their responsibility to keep their spaces clean and uncluttered by abandoned vehicles.
      • Several of the problem residents were evicted from the park.
      • Ten abandoned vehicles were towed from the park. A local salvage company removed the vehicles for scrap metal.
      • A general cleanup of trash and refuse was completed by park residents.
      • The public bathroom was repaired and repainted, and proper lighting installed by the manager.
      • Arrangements were made through the Job Corps vocational training program to use students to repair a number of plumbing and lighting problems that existed.
      • The swimming pool was cleaned and repainted, and a new filtering system was installed. The pool was opened to the entire community.
      • Speed bumps were installed to slow vehicles.

      These efforts resulted in a significant reduction in crime and calls for service. Neighborhood meetings greatly improved the relationship between the park manager and residents. Follow-up inspections conducted by the health department and city building inspector noted significant improvements. As a result of this collective effort, the overall environment and quality of life in Panther Valley improved.

      Source: Adapted from Police Executive Research Forum. (1992, Summer). Problem Solving Quarterly, 5 (3), 8. Retrieved from http://www.popcenter.org/library/psq/1992/Summer_1992_Vol_5_No_3.pdf

      Drugs and Guns: San Diego, California

      A single building can pose many problems of crime and disorder—particularly where the building is operated under a transient motel-type license and apartments are rented by the night or for several weeks at a time. Such was the case in San Diego, where the problems grew to such a level they had to be confronted by the city’s police department.


      Located in the southeast section of San Diego in a residential neighborhood of mostly apartment buildings, this privately owned, three-story complex contained more than 75 units. The complex was divided into four buildings with a small, grassy commons area between the buildings. An on-site manager, employed by the building management company, was responsible for maintenance. Shortly after the complex opened, in the late 1980s and early 1990s, serious drug using and dealing problems became evident.

      Combating narcotics activity in this area proved difficult for patrol officers. Initially, officers focused on making arrests, but suspects often evaded police by running into the apartments or by running through a canyon on the north side, an open field on the east side, or a row of apartments on the west side. Police determined that drug users and dealers congregated in and around two complex laundry rooms because officers had found small plastic bags, glass pipes, and used matchbooks—all signs of crack cocaine use—in these rooms. Police considered each of the locations “an easy place to make an arrest” as there was usually someone around who was either in possession of drugs or under their influence.

      Gunfire and gang-related violence became common occurrences at the complex during evening hours. Police learned that the complex had become a major supply source of crack cocaine for several area gangs. Two beat officers applied selective enforcement and converged on the area with large groups of officers at random intervals, making arrests. However, because this approach provided only temporary relief, the officers decided to implement community policing and problem-solving strategies.


      Officers A. and W. first determined that they needed additional information. Knowing that apartment managers sometimes were coerced into helping drug dealers or even volunteered to assist traffickers in exchange for money and drugs, the officers spoke with the apartment manager and suggested that he adopt the security measures of placing locks on the laundry room doors and installing additional lighting in the center of the complex. Two weeks later, the suggested improvements had not been made.

      The officers next evaluated their arrest and field interview data. From this information, which included suspect interviews, they identified many dealers, gangs, and tenants collaborating with dealers. Evidence indicated that the manager had been dissuading residents from contacting police, saying he would deal with the problem.

      The officers then contacted the complex’s management company and requested a key to a vacant apartment so they could observe drug dealers. Noting that some dealers carried guns, the officers later uncovered a gun-running operation, and in a subsequent investigation seized a large weapons cache of mostly handguns, an Uzi machine gun, a MAC-10 automatic pistol, and several sawed-off shotguns.

      Officers A. and W. sought search warrants for the apartments where they had observed drug dealing. When they informed the management company of their findings, its representatives offered to cooperate, agreeing to evict problem tenants and install security doors on the laundry room.


      With the assistance of the special weapons and tactics (SWAT) unit, five search warrants were executed simultaneously in the complex. Numerous guns and large quantities of drugs and drug paraphernalia were seized and numerous eviction notices were immediately served on the problem tenants. During the legal eviction process, Officers A. and W. continued to work with the private management company and maintain their surveillance, but drug users and sellers continued to congregate on the apartment grounds and in the general vicinity.

      The patrol officers went directly to the owner of the complex and learned that he was unaware of the situation. Once informed, he fired the apartment manager and subsequently replaced the management company. The new company hired security guards, improved the apartment grounds, and initiated a new tenant screening process.


      During the year following these responses, the complex was virtually drug free. Residents were mostly families with children, and the security guards reported no drug or gang activity.

      Source: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Assistance. (1993).Problem-oriented drug enforcement: A community-based approach to effective policing. Retrieved from https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/problem.pdf

      Crime and Drugs: Queen Village, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

      The following case study describes the kinds of actions that can be taken when a larger (six-square-block) neighborhood is beset with several types of problems involving crime and disorder.


      Residents and police officers working in the Queen Village area of Philadelphia, with 7,200 residents, were concerned about the prevalence of crime and drug trafficking. Both agreed that the neighborhood’s physical appearance and dilapidated housing were major contributing factors to the crime, drug trafficking, and fear in the community. Together, they decided to improve the physical environment and remove the drug dealers.


      Officers conducted an environmental survey of the neighborhood to identify and collect information on the physical conditions that were contributing to the problem. Officers also noted that six blocks had poor lighting due to the lights being broken or the overgrowth of trees. One vacant house in the area was the site of drug dealers operating and users congregating to smoke their crack cocaine (with police receiving nearly forty 911 call complaints concerning the property in two months’ time); complaints also included problems relating to area sanitation, litter, trash, abandoned vehicles, disturbances, and loud noise during the night. In addition, there was increased concern for the potential of fire on the block due to smoking crack pipes.


      Officer B., an eight-year veteran, was placed in charge of addressing the problems identified in the environmental survey. The officer immediately began removing the abandoned vehicles, securing and demolishing abandoned or dilapidated buildings, and clearing up vacant lots. Vehicle owners were identified through state motor vehicle records and ordered to remove or repair the vehicles within 30 days. The officer coordinated the removal of unclaimed vehicles by working with several salvage companies in the city. In total, 32 vehicles were removed.

      Officer B. then turned his attention to the problem of abandoned and dilapidated housing. Some houses had become litter strewn, drug infested, and crime ridden. Large crowds gathered daily to hang out, drink, and sell drugs. They also presented a hazard to children who were observed by patrol officers to be playing in the houses. Officer B. began working on the one house where there was obvious evidence of drug dealing. He coordinated his efforts with the city’s licensing and inspection departments, responsible for inspecting buildings and enforcing building code violations. After an unsuccessful attempt at contacting the owner, it was discovered from records that $3,000 in real estate taxes were due.

      Because the house had to be demolished, the situation was referred to the city’s contractual services department, which hired wrecking companies. Officer B. contacted the director of contractual services and a bid was accepted and the building demolished. Officer B. worked with the city’s building and inspections department and residents to clean up other abandoned lots in the area.


      Although no formal evaluation of the results was conducted, the community policing officer followed up the responses for six months and found that residents were pleased with the physical improvements of their neighborhood. He continued to monitor the problems during his patrol of the area.

      Source: Adapted from Philadelphia Police Department. (1989, June) . Problem-oriented approach to drug enforcement: Case studies. Retrieved from http://www.popcenter.org/library/unpublished/CaseStudies/144_Problem-Oriented_Approach_to_Drug_Enforcement_Case_Studi.pdf

      Homeless Problems: Colorado Springs, Colorado

      Homeless camps can present many public health and crime issues; such was the case in mid-2008 in Colorado Springs. This case study details how homeless problems can be addressed through the SARA problem-solving method.


      In mid-2008, an estimated 500 homeless individuals were living in tents on public land in Colorado Springs, Colorado. People in the camps began generating a tremendous amount of litter (including human waste). The public health hazard (and unsightliness) caused a citizen outcry for the police to do something about the camps. Others, however, supporting the individuals’ right to be there, were concerned about the potential civil rights violations and wanted a hands-off approach. Law enforcement personnel were caught in the middle and forced to balance individual freedoms with the overall health, safety, and welfare of the community.


      The Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD) formed a three-officer homeless outreach team (HOT). One of the HOT’s first assignments was to research the local problem and evaluate the efforts of other cities that were dealing with similar issues. They also began meeting local service providers and local homeless people.

      At the beginning of the project, there were an estimated 500 people found to be living in tents on public land. The CSPD crime analysis unit mapped calls for service typically associated with the transient population (e.g., intoxicated person, panhandling, trespass), and the highest density of these calls was found in locations also associated with homeless camps. It was also found that 21% of people living in the homeless camps were severely mentally ill and 23% had chronic substance abuse problems. Over 35% of the people counted in a police survey were unsheltered (not in transitional or emergency housing).

      Surveying 100 homeless people over a one-month period in the summer of 2006, the HOT found the average time respondents had lived in Colorado Springs was 7.5 years, with an average of 3.3 years living on the street. Many reasons were given to explain why they were homeless, including lost jobs, family, alcohol or drug addiction, injuries, physical and mental health issues, and legal issues. There were also many reasons the people surveyed did not stay in one of the shelter beds available in Colorado Springs, including that the length of stay in the shelter was too short, some respondents having warrants outstanding against them and feared being arrested, the shelter felt like a prison, lack of freedom, and shelter does not accept pets. Most respondents did not know the extent of resources available in Colorado Springs.


      Collaborating with an agency charged with coordinating a strategic plan for homeless services in the region, the HOT was better able to understand the local homeless problem and the causes of homeless camps. A number of community forums were held to allow citizen input for possible solutions to homeless issues. Those in attendance included homeless people, Colorado Springs City Council members, advocates, and other citizens. The ideas expressed at the forums ranged from leaving the situation as it was to the immediate and forcible removal of all homeless individuals.

      After visiting other jurisdictions concerning their homelessness problem, one of the major lessons learned was that any solution would have to be a communitywide effort. The CSPD also wanted to generate a permanent solution to the homeless problem, taking into account the welfare of the homeless individuals, the environment and overall aesthetics of the city, the safety of all citizens, and the civil rights of everyone involved.

      The project began with the HOT patrolling the areas where homeless camps were located and officers introducing themselves to homeless individuals, building a foundation of trust. This trust was formed after repeated contacts with the same individuals who were able to see that the HOT was not there to harass them but to help them. The team used their contacts with area service providers to make referrals. People could get the services that they needed to help them get off the street. Success stories were frequent.

      A number of response alternatives were considered, including adding a social worker to go to homeless camps with the HOT, developing an ordinance prohibiting camping on public land, a sanctioned homeless camp, and resuming homeless camp cleanups.

      In addition to forming the HOT, the responses included the following key strategies:

      • Developing a multiagency partnership to increase “street-level” collaboration of service providers
      • Maintaining personal contact between the HOT officers and homeless people to increase trust and make referrals to service providers
      • Prohibiting camping on public property and working collaboratively with involved advocacy groups, service providers, and homeless people to transition campers to housing

      The HOT worked with nine shelter agencies, 11 food providers, six mental health care providers, and a number of other agencies providing medical treatment, drug and alcohol treatment, clothing, and other services. The HOT attends weekly meetings with local service providers, civil rights leaders, local homeless advocates, concerned community members, and the homeless themselves. These weekly meetings are attended by over 60 separate entities (when the HOT was initially formed two years earlier, fewer than 10 people attended the meetings).

      Following the passage of a no-camping ordinance and a two-week voluntary compliance period, enforcement began. To accomplish effective enforcement, three additional officers and one sergeant were temporarily assigned to the team. The HOT began a methodical approach to enforcement, concentrating on one geographical area at a time. Many of the homeless campers had already found alternative housing and were gone. The remaining property was clearly abandoned or unusable and was cleaned up along with the other waste. The trails and adjacent areas were returned to their natural state. Since the passing of the ordinance in February 2010, the HOT has not had to make a single arrest for a camping violation.


      At the beginning of the project, there were an estimated 500 individuals living in tents on public land. With the help of the HOT, Homeward Pikes Peak (the agency charged with coordinating a strategic plan for homeless services in the region) has sheltered 229 families and returned 117 individuals to family out of state using the bus tickets funded by a foundation. They also documented 100 people becoming employed and self-sufficient. Many homeless camps have been cleaned following this effort, and the trails that citizens had been avoiding are again in use. From 2009 to 2010, the HOT made 2,301 outreach contacts and 872 referrals and participated in 40 cleanups of vacant camps; they also made 29 felony and 80 misdemeanor arrests.

      Source: Colorado Springs Police Department. (2010). Homeless Outreach Team (HOT). Retrieved from http://www.popcenter.org/library/awards/goldstein/2010/10–37(W).pdf


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      Administration on Aging, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services; http://www.aoa.gov
      American Association of Retired Persons (AARP); http://www.aarp.org
      American Bar Association Commission on Law and Aging; http://www.abanet.org/aging
      Center for Problem-Oriented Policing; http://www.popcenter.org
      Citizens Observer.com; http://www.citizenobserver.com
      Clearinghouse on Abuse and Neglect of the Elderly, University of Delaware, Department of Consumer Studies; http://db.rdms.udel.edu:8080/CANE
      Community Policing Consortium; http://www.communitypolicing.org
      CrimeMapping, the Omega Group; http://www.crimemapping.com
      D.A.R.E. America; http://www.dare.com
      Evidence-Based Policing Matrix; http://gemini.gmu.edu/cebcp/Matrix.html
      Gang Resistance Education and Training (G.R.E.A.T); http://www.great-online.org
      International Network for the Prevention of Elder Abuse; http://www.inpea.net
      National Adult Protective Services Association; http://www.apsnetwork.org
      National Association of Citizens on Patrol; http://www.nacop.org/index.htm
      National Association of Triads; http://www.nationaltriad.org
      National Association of Youth Courts; http://www.youthcourt.net
      National Center for Community Policing. Publications; http://www.cj.msu.edu/~people/cp/webpubs.html
      National Center on Elder Abuse; http://www.elderabusecenter.org
      National Citizens Police Academy Association; http://www.nationalcpaa.org
      National Clearinghouse on Abuse in Later Life, a project of the Wisconsin Coalition Against Domestic Violence; http://www.ncall.us
      National Committee for the Prevention of Elder Abuse; http://www.preventelderabuse.org
      National Crime Prevention Council; http://www.ncpc.org
      National Gang Center; http://www.nationalgangcenter.gov
      National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; http://www.nhtsa.gov
      National Institute of Justice; http://www.nij.gov
      Police Foundation; http://www.policefoundation.org
      Police Futurists International; http://www.policefuturists.org
      San Diego Family Justice Center model; http://www.familyjusticecenter.org
      U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; http://www.atf.gov
      U.S. Department of Homeland Security; http://www.dhs.gov
      U.S. Department of Justice, Community-Oriented Policing Services; http://www.cops.usdoj.gov
      U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs; http://www.amberalert.gov
      USA on Watch, National Sheriffs Association; http://www.usaonwatch.org
      Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS), the International Association of Chiefs of Police; http://www.policevolunteers.org
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