In Problem-Oriented Policing in Suburban Low-Income Housing : A Quasi-Experiment by Jennifer Carson and Ashley Wellman, a study regarding a suburban public housing unit made it evident that problem-oriented policing works. At first, place-based policing was put into effect by placing an emphasis on “hot spots [that] have routinely been utilized by law enforcement to systematically target crime (Carson and Wellman, 2018: 140).” Although this method was being used, there were better outcomes in regards to reducing crime and disorder with the use of problem-oriented policing (POP).
Firstly, police are the catalysts in beginning the process of reducing crime, yet the intervention of the community surrounding crime aids in reducing crime. For example, in areas where there is a lack of homeownership and economic deprivation, there are high rates of crime. Yet, with the help of the community through support in incorporating the SARA-guided initiatives, “collective efficacy [when it] is high, violence is often reduced (Carson and Wellman 2018: 142).” In order for this to function, the community must feel as though they have a voice which is why police have found that strategies such as “altering public phone access, providing additional lighting, increasing surveillance, and the identification of nuisance apartments,” have indeed helped with reducing crime and increasing the rate of calls regarding any criminal activity (Carson and Wellman, 2018: 143).” This helps reverse the obstacles many low-income housing communities face because it’s not that citizens don’t want to reduce crime, it’s the fact that obstacles such as health and monetary issues prevent them from wanting to cooperate with police.
A successful initiative adopted by the police force was the CRT intervention that trained police officers with the SARA model and POP information. Many pondered whether POP worked because police lacked knowledge, yet this two-week training where “specific problems associated with crime trends were discussed by the leadership,” further proving that these officers were well-trained in dealing with reducing crime and disorder (Carson and Wellman, 2018:144).” A major issue within low-income housing areas such as Section 8 is the rising drug use, however with police interactions with the community through strategizing techniques, led to a “spike in violent crime calls [increased] from 10 to nearly 35 calls after the intervention is implemented (Carson and Wellman, 2018:145).”
As part of a response in regards to the mental health well-being of many citizens within suburban low-income housing, police partnered with a local mental health facility to aid such citizens. For instance, “team members became certified CIT officers and also received training from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (Carson and Wellman, 2018:150).” Thus, these efforts aided in doubling the amount of mental health contacts that successfully referred “30 citizens to an appropriate mental health facility and treatment program (Carson and Wellman, 2018:151).” After an assessment was performed pertaining to the intervention techniques used by police to address crime, it was proven that there was a “reduction in the hazard of drug offending [and] police presence deterred those around the treatment site from engaging in criminal behavior (Carson and Wellman, 2018: 160).”
In Community and Problem-Oriented Policing by Michael Reisig, community policing helps redefine the role of the public. This means breaking up the community’s role into four dimensions “philosophical, strategic, tactical, and organizational (Reisig, 2010:5).” It is important for the community to have the opportunity to voice their concerns which allows for police to reduce crime through problem-oriented policing. In essence, officers cannot intervene and implement strategies without the help of the community, who are truly the heart of putting forth efforts in solving local problems.
A similar concept related to collective efficacy states that it is “not restricted to indigenous neighborhood resources but also draws on services and assistance from public agencies, such as the police, to achieve and maintain social order (Reisig, 2010:38).” Police promote collective efficacy through beat meetings which bring residents together to interact and create dialogue to improve neighborhood conditions that reduces crime in the long run. However, attendance and participation is crucial in creating success in the reduction of crime, therefore “”police must not be simply reactive to concerns expressed by involved citizens, but rather engage participants in problem-solving activities that are consistent with the wellbeing of the community as a whole (Reisig, 2010:39).”
Since participants of beat meetings were more interested in disorders rather than serious crimes, police realized that “residents who perceive that police exercise their authority in a procedurally just manner are more likely to view the police as legitimate, cooperate with the police, and express a willingness to participate in police programs (Reisig. 2010:39-40).” This shows that problem-oriented policing does indeed help in reducing crime and disorder. Furthermore, “ only 10 studies that evaluated the effects of problem-oriented policing on crime and disorder using either experimental or quasi-experimental designs..eight reported favorable results (Reisig, 2010:41).” This proves that POP truly works and there is a spark of optimism in regards to the success of this technique.
In The Effects of Problem-Oriented Policing on Crime and DIsorder by David Weisburd, Cody W. Telep, Joshua C. Hinkle, John E. Eckm, Goldstein argued that “police were not being effective in preventing and controlling crime because they had become to focused on the means of policing and had neglected the goals of preventing and controlling crime and other community problems (Weisburd, Telep, Hinkle, Eck, 2008:4).” Therefore, problem-oriented policing was placed into effect in a project located in New Jersey.
Hot spots had been mapped out so that officers could identify the specific problems within those areas. In 12 of those spots, problem-oriented policing was invoked to address the high rates of violence alongside the disorder problems including public drinking and loitering. As a response, officers “included some aspect of aggressive maintenance and most included efforts to make physical improvements to the area,” which was then assessed to identify the underlying problems that lead to crime in general (Weisburd, Telep, Hinkle, Eck, 2008:17). Another problem-oriented policing strategy was implemented in Atlanta, Ga regarding drug selling and its use in public housing. The drug problem was analyzed by the Atlanta police department as well as the housing authority. Surveys had then been conducted to specifically identify the extent of problems as well as perceptions of residents within the housing area.
Next, data from police, drug treatment facilities, schools, courts, social services and other agencies in order to respond to the crucial problems within the housing area. For example, in response, “management teams focused on poor lighting, abandoned cars, abundant litter, porr playgrounds, and improperly strung clothesline (Weisburd, Telep, Hinkle, Eck, 2008:19).” This was important because the residents in this area claimed that these were the underlying issues to drug use. The police department and housing authority worked together to address these issues through weekly lighting and much more, which proves that their efforts were successful in reducing crime and disorder.
The two projects of ten, were proven to be a success since “there were significant decreases in calls for street fighting, property crime, and narcotics at treatment sites relative to control areas after intervention and significant decreases in incidents for robbery and property crimes (Weisburd, Telep, Hinkly, Eck, 2008:21).” Since the year 1993, Goldstein Awards were being awarded to police departments for outstanding problem-oriented policing projects for their effective problem solving and reduction in crime. Out of all 32 studies that had been awarded for its success, “the average percent change in crime over all studies was a sizeable 44.45 percent decrease in crime (Weisburd, Telep, Hinkly, Eck, 2008:31-32).” This further proves that POP is truly successful in reducing crime.
In Problem-Oriented Policing in Colorado Springs: A Contest Analysis of 753 Cases by Edward Maguire, Craig Uchida, and Kimberly Hassell presents findings from an analysis of POP in the Colorado Springs Police Department (CSPD). According to Goldstein, “for POP to be implemented successfully, the police need to disaggregate problems into smaller, more homogenous categories, developing new labels that are not necessarily bound to the penal code (Maguire, Uchida, Hassell, 2015:79).” This way, police can focus on alternative means to solving the problem at hand without solely relying on just police. In a way, it makes their job much more feasible to combat crime and disorder within communities with high crime rates.
The SARA model is adopted to collect data and excessive analysis that does not rely on criminal justice responses such as typical arrests, citations, and more which are to be avoided at all costs. The CSPD uses the method of nominating problems through police data so that the community can focus in contributing input on problems nominated for attention. The CSPD seek out POP cases proactively by “routinely us[ing] one or more data sources to analyze the problem.and reach out to outside agencies (Maguire, Ucida, Hassell, 2015:85).” Here, it is evident that these officers do not take a reactive approach when dealing with crime, but rather deal with it in a proactive way that actually pushes forth improvement within communities that have higher crime rates so that it can be avoided in the future and/or long run.
In Improving problem-oriented policing: The need for a new model? by Aiden Sidebottom and Nick Tilley examines the findings of an exploratory study which sought to review the dominant problem-solving models used by police and agencies in Britain. ID PARTNERS method was an alternative to delivering POP. This method helped expand the SARA model in the UK which stood for “identify the demand, drivers, problem, aim, research and analysis, think creatively, negotiate and initiate responses, evaluate, review, and success (Sidebottom and Tilley, 2010:7).” Although this method is only used in London, it is still very successful in regards to problem-oriented policing because it breaks down to reach the actual underlying issue to essentially reduce crime and disorder. As a result of these two models–SARA and ID PARTNERS, there was a “pattern of responses meaning] that reliable analysis can be made only of the use of SARA,” since it was 84 percent used compared to 11 percent of the ID PARTNERS model (Sidebottom and Tilley, 2010:11).”
However, the use of these two problem-solving models did indeed correlate with the the police service’s self-rated success in reducing crime and disorder. The purpose of these problem-solving models is that they help “emphasize the challenge that doing POP properly comprises (Sidebottom and Tilley, 2010:20-21).” In totality, these models help provide more detailed guidance about what needs to be involved in scanning, analysis, response, and assessment which continue the progress of solving problems where they are most needed.
In Problem-Oriented Policing In Practice by Gary Cordner and Elizabeth Perkins Biebel, interviews and surveys were used to measure the extent of POP by individual police officers in San Diego. “Problems are defined as collections of incidents related in some way or as underlying conditions that give rise to incidents, crimes, disorder, and other substantive community issues that people expect the police to handle (Cordner and Biebel, 2005:156).” This is important to understand because the interviews conducted were based on the officer’s findings after conducting problem-solving efforts. “Over 50 percent of the officers who identified a problem-solving effort described POP projects that were small in scope– typically focused on one person, one address, one building, one parking lot, or one intersection (Cordner and Biebel, 2005:164).”
Although police officers did seem to only tackle one issue at a time, it does not mean that it’s unsuccessful or does not work, because there really is a decline in crime and disorder in the long run. One criticism against my view on whether POP truly works is “interviewees indicated most often that they had learned something about offenders, followed by locations, harms attributable to the problem,” meaning there was no focus on the victim (Cordner and Biebel, 2005:167).” Although this means there was more focus on the criminal, I believe it is more important to analyze who actually causes the harm so that the problems regarding the criminal can be solved so that there are no victims affected by crime or disorder. It has to start with the criminal himself, therefore having more focus on the aggressor versus an innocent person is more valuable.
In Problem-Oriented Policing: Operation Mantle–A Case Study by Paul Williams, Paul White, Michael Teece, and Robert Kitto there has been an upward trajectory of drug use in Australia, which is why problem-oriented policing has been adopted to help decrease illicit drug use. Such actions enforced by police in regards to POP is that they have “ use[d] civil codes to make environments less conducive to disorder, for example, by requiring a slum landlord to repair run-down housing and board up vacant properties which are used by drug dealers and their customers (Williams, White, Teece, and Kitto, 2001:2).” This shows proactive work being done by officers to reduce crime and disorder. Consequently, the Operation Mantle is an approach to POP in that it helps reduce the impact of illicit drug-related crime and had another objective of “disrupt[ing] of the activities of the illicit drug market at all levels (Williams, White, Teece, and Kitto, 2001:3).” The approaches to reducing crime and disorder are proven here, to have been successful and effective in Australia.
In Problem-Oriented Policing In Violent Crime Places: A Randomized Controlled Experiment by Anthony Braga, David Weisburd, Elin Waring, Lorraine Mozerolle, William Spelman, and Francis Gajewski evaluates the effects of POP interventions on urban violent crime problems in Jersey City, New Jersey. It is proven that the better approach to POP is to focus on crime places rather than criminals because “research has confirmed that it is very difficult to identify who is likely to become a serious offender and to predict the timing and types of future crimes repeat offenders will likely commit (Braga, Weisburd, Waring, Mozerolle, Spelman, and Gaweski, 1999:547).” It is more effective to control crime at locations where trouble is bound to occur, since that is where criminals tend to hang out or commit crime in general. Control places matter, especially when “street fight calls were significantly reduced at treatment places relative to control places,” meaning that location is of importance when trying to reduce crime and disorder (Braga, Weisburd, Waring, Mozerolle, Spelman, and Gaweski, 1999:562).”
Overall, problem-oriented policing does truly work and has had success in the past. THis type of method consists of constant updating in regards to figuring out what works and what doesn’t, to further improve this method. In the long run, as long as there is continuing progress on behalf of problem-oriented policing, there is a definite opportunity for a reduction in crime and disorder.