"Community Policing in the United States." In Jean-Paul Brodeur (ed.), Comparisons in
Policing: An International Perspective. Aldershot: Avebury, 1995, 86-112.
A major debate is now taking place in the United States over the role of police in society.
Topics such as the relationship between police and the public, the role of the police in crime
prevention, policing in difficult neighborhoods, police management, and controls on police
action are widely discussed. Surprisingly, there is more innovation and change taking place in
American policing than in almost any other function of government, especially at the municipal
level. It is an exciting time, for much of this change is taking place without a clear sense of what
direction it will take or how successful it will be. Although it is taking many different forms, this
great wave of innovation is often called ‘community policing'. Interest in community policing is
not unique to the United States, and similar projects are taking place in Great Britain, Germany,
Belgium, Holland, Canada, Australia, and other countries. However, I shall focus on recent
innovations in policing in the United States. In this essay I discuss the definition of community
policing and some of the rationales for it. I also discuss why community policing has appeared,
and review a great deal of evidence about its effectiveness. I conclude with critical comments
on the future of community policing, and some recommendations.
“Introduction,” in Wesley G. Skogan (ed.), Community Policing: Can It Work?
Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company, 2003.
The essays presented here examine this debate over the role of the police in the community.
This introductory chapter sets the emergence of community policing in historical and
conceptual context. First we review some of the precursors to community policing, in order to
highlight what each contributed to the evolution of this new model of policing. Then we
describe the end product, or at least its current configuration. We present an extended
definition of community policing, and some cursory evidence of its popularity. Next, we show
how the chapters address the "Can it work?" question that is part of the title of this book. The
first set of chapters examine trends in the adoption of community policing, to see if anything
fundamental is indeed changing. Another addresses the role of the public in securing
neighborhood safety, and several chapters address the reaction of police officers – which is
often negative – to their involvement in community policing. The final section looks at the
effectiveness of community policing in addressing neighborhood problems.