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The Limits of Community
The limits of community
Michael E.Buerger

The rhetoric of community policing ascribes to “the community” a great power to regulate itself, shake off its fear of crime by forming “partnerships” with the police, and reestablish community norms that regulate behavior and successfully resist the encroachments of the criminal element. Unfortunately, early returns from the field suggest that its successes in this regard are modest and that community policing initiatives have so far failed to tap the great wellspring of “community” believed to lie waiting for the proper catalyst.

Little attention has been given to a definition of the community commensurate with the vast promise embedded in the community policing rhetoric. Even less has been spared for defining the role that can be reasonably expected ...

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