Declining trust and inadequate communication between law enforcement and the general public gives an unfavorable perception of police within their communities. This leads to a decrease in crime reporting and cooperation. Community policing proactively addresses public safety issues and repairs this lack of trust by promoting strategies that support the use of partnerships between law enforcement and the communities they serve. It opens the door to a more transparent relationship and assists in accomplishing crime reduction across the board. Police departments should promote community-oriented policing as a way to foster positive partnerships with their communities.
Community policing is built on relationships. To succeed, it is important for both the community and officers to view this as a tool to accomplish their mutual goal – a safer community to live and work in. The segments of community policing include a beat style patrol. Officers should walk, stop and talk to the members of the community. Community involvement programs such as a neighborhood watch are another part of community policing. Through these programs, the community gets a sense of ownership, and departments’ and citizens’ partner to identify high crime areas and solve problems collectively. Finally, accurate representation in hiring is necessary for community policing to be effective. The officers’ demographics should mirror the communities’ to increase effective communication and comfort level in interactions.
To be effective, officers must perceive this program as helpful and necessary, not as a soft on crime approach. Community policing should never take the emphasis off of officer safety and training. Finally, complete implementation of community policing is necessary. Partial implementation is ineffective.