What is considered the traditional approach to policing emphasizes swift police response to incidents. The more proactive approach of problem-oriented policing stresses the long-term benefits of crime prevention. There can definitely be benefits to each approach. However, because crime is becoming more complex in today’s society, law enforcement is combining the two strategies. Swift police response to incidents and disorder along with problem-oriented policing are thought to better serve communities in a more balanced way.
The combination of these two strategies creates a form of law enforcement referred to as community-oriented policing or COP. (Walters, 1993). Problem-oriented policing or POP is a method sometimes used to improve the effectiveness of policing by examining and acting on the underlying conditions that create community problems (What, 2006). This method emphasizes prevention and can involve and engage agencies outside of the criminal justice system. If helpful, it can also involve the community and private sector.
For problem-oriented policing, similar police incidents are clustered, they are examined hoping whatever is learned will help in discovering more effective strategies for dealing with it. This can be especially useful for incidents that are preventative in nature. Because the incidents police officers generally deal with are not usually random, for example, police often return to to the same places, groups or people, and because not all incidents are crime-related, it helps to analyze the problems, which is where problem-oriented policing really becomes useful.
The broken windows theory policing is based on the broken window theory of deterrence in that many believe that when “minor physical and social disorder, if left unattended in a neighborhood, causes serious crime” (Harcourt, 1998). Some refer to the broken windows theory as the new path to deterrence. It is somewhat difficult to compare these various methods of policing because they each can often serve different purposes and can each be useful in its own way as well as complimenting the other methods.
For example, we are always going to need the swift approach policing in some cases and nothing else can necessarily take its place for the purpose it serves. I think most everyone is aware of problem-oriented policing and the definite benefits of crime prevention. This service has shown to be beneficial. However, each of these individual methods of policing cannot be replaced by other methods of policing but they can be used in combination with the other methods mentioned or to supplement the other methods.
I am personally excited for the field of problem-oriented policing and all the potential this area has as it opens up to more ideas with continued usage. This can be compared and used with crime prevention methods of policing but it has its own focus too. However, with increased technology I feel all of these methods of policing will possibly overlap more, which isn’t a bad thing. Although the broken windows theory of policing sounds very basic, it makes sense and it has been proven to work.
When you think of a building becoming less functional and more dilapidated, that building often serves the neighborhood a disservice rather than a function because of who and what it then begins to attract. I do think it’s important that we don’t overlook what we may view to be the less interesting or most basic methods of policing such as the swift response to incidents and the broken windows theory and the basic crime prevention. They are basic for good reasons—they are necessary, they serve a purpose the others don’t necessarily serve, and they are probably needed the most.
But overall, when comparing and contrasting community-oriented policing (COP), problem-oriented policing (POP), and the broken windows theory, I feel in examining each of these areas we find that they are all useful and needed, they can often overlap and provide supplemental crime deterrence for each of the other methods while also serving vital purposes in and of themselves. References Harcourt, Bernard E. “Reflecting on the subject: A critique of the social influence conception of deterrence, the broken windows theory, and order-maintenance policing
New York style. ” Michigan Law Review 97. 2 (Nov. 1998): 291. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. 31 May 2007. Walters, Paul M. “Community-oriented policing. ” FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin 62. 11 (Nov. 1993): 20. Academic Search Premier. EBSCO. 31 May 2007. <http://search. ebscohost. com/login. aspx? direct=true&db=aph&AN=9402211021&site=e host-live>. (2006). What is Problem-Oriented Policing. Retrieved May 30, 2007, from Center for Problem-Oriented Policing Web site: http://www. popcenter. org/about-whatisPOP. htm