Community Policing

February 5, 1993 • Volume 3, Issue 5
Is it the best answer to the nation's crime problem?
By Richard L. Worsnop

Introduction

Hundreds of cities across the country are putting cops back on neighborhood foot patrol -- not out of nostalgia for the era of Officer Friendly but because they see close police-community contact as the best way to combat crime. Community policing, as this approach to law enforcement is called, dates from the earliest days of modern police forces. It seeks to identify and eradicate the causes of crime rather than waiting passively for offenses to occur and then responding to them. Critics say community policing is expensive and that it seeks to turn police officers into “social workers with guns.” Advocates say community policing is not only cost-efficient but effective in lowering the crime rate -- the measure of law- enforcement performance that the public understands best.

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