Community Policing and Problem Solving: Strategies and Practices / Edition 5

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This book is about policing at its most important and challenging levels–in neighborhoods and in communities across the nation and abroad. Unique in perspective, its focus is on community policing and problem solving–and the processes that are being implemented under COPPS to control and prevent crime, disorder and fear. Extremely applied, this book focuses on daily processes and tactics and how and why agencies are revolutionizing their traditional philosophy and operations. This fifth edition provides updated information on crime in the United States, more emphasis on terrorism and homeland defense, and a new chapter on information technology.

Authoritative and practical perspectivecombines the classroom expertise of a seasoned criminal justice educator with the practical experience of an executive–level police administrator. Community-oriented policing and problem solving (COPPS) focus provides a comprehensive view of how agencies are changing their management style, organizational structures, and operational strategies to attack crime, disorder and fear. Includes topics such as computer-aided dispatch, mobile computing, records management, geomapping, CompStat, global positioning systems, use of the Internet, and surveys.

Police practictioners with a fundamental knowledge of police history or operations or those working in a government agency outside policing and are interested in learning about community policing and problem solving.

Combining both community-policing and problem-oriented policing concepts, this book explains the processes and terms, what they mean and how they are applied, as well as how they are implemented and evaluated. The book exposes readers to such timely and important topics as re-engineering public service, police-minority relations, and more.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780132392570
  • Publisher: Prentice Hall
  • Publication date: 3/14/2007
  • Series: Pearson Criminal Justice Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Edition number: 5
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 1,285,443
  • Product dimensions: 8.08 (w) x 10.24 (h) x 0.79 (d)

Meet the Author

Ken Peak is a full professor and former chairman of the Department of Criminal Justice, University of Nevada, Reno, where he has been named "Teacher of the Year" by the university's Honor Society. He served as chairman of the Police Section of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences from 1997 to 1999 and has served as president of the Western and Pacific Association of Criminal Justice Educators. He entered municipal policing in Kansas in 1970 and subsequently held positions as a nine-county criminal justice planner for southeast Kansas, director of a four-state Technical Assistance Institute for LEAH, director of university police at Pittsburg State University, and assistant professor of criminal justice at Wichita State University. His earlier books include Policing America: Methods, Issues, Challenges (4th ed.), Policing Communities: Understanding Crime and Solving Problems–An Anthology (with R. Glensor and M. Correia), Community Policing and Problem Solving: Strategies and Practices (3d ed., with Ronald W. Glensor), Police Supervision (with Ronald W. Glensor and L. K. Gaines), Kansas Temperance: Much Ado About Booze, 1870-1920 (Sunflower University Press), and Kansas Bootleggers (with P. G. O'Brien, Sunflower University Press). He also has published more than 50 journal articles and additional book chapters. His teaching interests include policing, administration, victimology, and comparative justice systems. He holds a doctorate from the University of Kansas.

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Table of Contents

About the Authors
Ch. 1 The Evolution of Policing: Past Wisdom and Future Directions 1
Ch. 2 A Nation in Flux: Changing People, Crime, and Policing 28
Ch. 3 Attending to the "Customer": Community Oriented Government 49
Ch. 4 Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving: "COPPS" 74
Ch. 5 Planning and Implementation: Translating Ideas into Action 115
Ch. 6 From Recruit to Chief: Changing the Culture in the Department 141
Ch. 7 Training for COPPS: Approaches and Challenges 173
Ch. 8 Managing Diversity: Building New Bridges 210
Ch. 9 New Strategies for Old Problems: COPPS on the Beat 235
Ch. 10 The "Devil's Advocate": Concerns with COPPS 264
Ch. 11 Has it Worked? Evaluating COPPS 290
Ch. 12 Selected American Approaches 321
Ch. 13 In Foreign Venues: COPPS Abroad 349
Ch. 14 "Peeking Over the Rim": The Future 382
App. A Problem Solving Case Studies 406
App. B A Community Survey in Fort Collins, Colorado 418
App. C A Strategic Plan Survey in Portland, Oregon 407
Index 430
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This book is about policing at its most important and challenging levels-in neighborhoods and in communities across the nation and abroad. It is about a new policing, one that encourages collaboration with the community and other agencies and organizations that are responsible for community safety. It is a style of policing that requires officers to obtain new knowledge and tools such as problem solving, and it is grounded in strategic thinking and planning to enable agencies to keep up with the rapid changes occurring in our society. This policing style also allows agencies to make the necessary organizational and administrative adjustments to maintain a capable and motivated workforce.


This book is grounded on the assumption that the reader is most likely an undergraduate or graduate student studying criminal justice or policing. Or, the reader is a police practitioner, with a fundamental knowledge of police history and operations, or is working in a government agency outside policing and needs to know about community policing and problem solving. Citizens who are involved with the police in solving neighborhood problems and are curious about community oriented policing and problem solving (COPPS), and the innovative and collaborative strategies that can be employed with this initiative, can also be served well by reading this book.

This book alone cannot transform the reader into an expert on COPPS. It will, however, impart some of the major underpinnings and prominent names, theories, practices (with myriad examples), and processes that are being implemented to control and prevent crime, disorder, and fear.

Aconsiderable number of textbooks have already been written about community policing. Most of them, however, emphasize its philosophy and provide little information about its practical aspects—putting the philosophy into daily practice. This practice of community policing is the primary focus of this book, as indicated in its title. In addition to familiarizing the reader with strategies and practices, this book also challenges the reader to be open minded and to consider traditional policing methods and why innovation should occur.

While some fundamental components of COPPS contribute to its success, no one single form of COPPS exists or can be copied onto a compact disk or downloaded via the Internet. COPPS is an individualized, long-term process. that involves fundamental institutional change, going beyond such simple tactics as foot and bicycle patrols or neighborhood police stations. It redefines the role of the officer on the street, from crime fighter to problem solver and neighborhood intermediary. It forces a cultural transformation of the entire police agency, involving changes in recruiting, training, awards systems, evaluations, and promotions.

It has been said that problem solving is not new in policing, that police officers have always tried to solve problems in their daily work. As is demonstrated throughout this text, however, problem solving is not the same as solving problems. Problem solving in the context of COPPS is very different and considerably more complex. It requires that officers identify and examine the underlying causes of recurring incidents of crime and disorder. Such policing also seeks to make thinking "street criminologists" of our police officers, empowering them to focus on the settings for crimes, rather than on the persons committing them. Such an approach presents great challenges for those patrol officers who are engaged in analytical, creative work.

Given the extent to which COPPS has evolved since the publication of our second edition, the authors understand the challenges involved with writing this text. Like its two predecessors, this third edition might still be viewed as a work in progress; today's "snapshot" of what is occurring nationally with respect to COPPS may need to be drastically revised in the future.

We also emphasize that this book is not a call for a complete discarding of policing's past methods, nor do we espouse an altogether new philosophy of policing in its place. Rather, we recommend that the police borrow from the wisdom of the past and adopt a holistic approach to the way police organizations address crime and disorder.

We are quite pleased with the work that has been done by many police practitioners and academicians here and abroad who have made substantive contributions to the COPPS approach. But the traditional, reactive, "cops-as-pinballs" philosophy is still very much alive in many agencies. We discuss in later chapters how, sadly, merely creating a "crime prevention specialist" position, putting an officer on foot or bicycle patrol, or anticipating the receipt of federal dollars can cause many agencies to claim to have implemented COPPS when in fact they have not. Innovations such as these not only misrepresent the true potential and functions of COPPS, they also set unrealistically simplistic goals and expectations for its work.

Thus, as this book explains, much work remains to be done. It is through these ongoing efforts that new directions for policing will evolve.


To understand the methods and challenges of COPPS, we first need to look at the big picture. Thus, in the first three chapters we discuss (1) the history of policing and the major transformations over time that led to the present community policing era, (2) some of the many, changes occurring in America and what the police must do to confront them, and (3) how governments and the police should turn to and involve their "customers," the public, in making neighborhoods safer places in which to live and work. These initial three chapters help to set the stage for Chapter 4, which is the "heart and soul" of the book, and for the later discussions of COPPS. Following is a chapter-by-chapter breakdown of the book's 15 chapters.

Chapter 1 begins with a brief discussion of Britain's and Sir Robert Peel's influence and the Metropolitan Police Act in England. Next we review the evolution of policing in America, followed by a look at police and change. Then we examine the community problem solving era, including its principal components, why it emerged, and how it evolved.

Chapter 2 opens with an examination of the many rapid changes that are occurring in the United States. Next is a consideration of the changing nature of criminality in this country. Then we examine fear of crime and its effects on neighborhoods. The chapter concludes with a view of what all of these changes mean for the police.

Chapter 3 explores how governments and the police should and do conduct business with respect to their customers' needs. This reinvention of government empowers citizens to reclaim their neighborhoods and to improve their overall quality of life. Some local governments refer to this "community oriented government" movement as the next step in community policing.

The foundation of the book is presented in Chapter 4. Included are discussions of the separate concepts of community policing and problem oriented policing. We maintain throughout the book that these are complementary core components. Included are in-depth discussions of collaborative partnerships and problem solving. The problem solving process is introduced as the officers' primary tool for understanding crime and disorder. Crime analysis and mapping tools used to support problem solving are also discussed.

Crime prevention involves much more than developing programs and distributing brochures. Chapter 5 looks at two important and contemporary components of crime prevention: crime prevention through environmental design (OPTED) and situational crime prevention. These methods help officers understand how opportunities for crime can be blocked and how environments can be designed or changed to lessen a person's or location's vulnerability to design (OPTED) and situational crime prevention. These methods help officers understand how opportunities for crime can be blocked and how environments can be designed or changed to lessen a person's or location's vulnerability to crime.

Chapter 6 examines the need for police organizations to engage in strategic thinking in order to be prepared for future challenges. This chapter also discusses the strategic planning process and how to assess local needs and develop a planning document as a roadmap. Then it shifts to the implementation of COPPS per se, considering some vital components: leadership and administration, human resources, field operations, and external relations. Included are several general obstacles to implementation.

Another difficult challenge for those agencies involved in COPPS is the training and education of police officers and others. After looking in Chapter 8 at why police officers comprise a challenging learning audience, we consider means and approaches for training, including a training needs assessment. Then we discuss some methods and review some available technologies for conducting training. Included are some ideas for the curriculum of a COPPS training program.

Chapter 9 examines the history of relations between the minorities and the police, and how COPPS can enhance those relations. Included are discussions of cultural differences, customs, and problems; diversity in police organizations; police responses to hate crimes; and some scenarios.

Today's police struggle with an almost overwhelming array of social problems. Chapter 10 describes the application of COPPS to several of those problems, including drug trafficking, gangs, special populations (the mentally ill, the homeless, and those addicted to alcohol), domestic violence, school violence, rental-property and neighborhood disorder, prostitution, and others. Exhibits and case studies are included throughout this chapter and demonstrate the power of collaborative partnerships and problem solving.

Several writers have raised concerns and criticisms with the COPPS concept. The literature reveals more resistance to community policing than to problem solving. This is largely due to academics and practitioners who have incorrectly associated community policing with community relations. Chapter 11 examines these concerns-what we have termed the "devil's advocate" position toward COPPS. We believe that it is important for these concerns to be aired and given a response. Nine issues or problems that have been raised are addressed.

Athough COPPS has been implemented and praised across our nation as well as in foreign venues, what has remained in question is the degree to which the success of these programs has been measured. Chapter 12 confronts the issue of evaluation, beginning with the rationale for evaluating COPPS and social interventions generally, and then reviewing the criticisms of past evaluative efforts. Included are the different methods for evaluation and criteria that can be employed to assess agencies' efforts. Case studies of agencies and research are presented.

Chapter 13 highlights agencies' efforts to implement COPPS in the United States. Featured are case studies in 21 jurisdictions: seven large (categorized as having more than 250,000 population), nine medium-sized (between 50,000 and 250,000 population), and five small (less than 50,000). In addition, brief descriptions of such initiatives appear in several exhibits throughout the chapter.

COPPS has indeed gone international, and much can be learned from looking at the activities and approaches undertaken in foreign venues. In Chapter 14 we travel to Canada, Japan, Australia, Great Britain, Scotland, Israel, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the Scandinavian countries, and the Isle of Man. Other venues are also discussed in five exhibits in the chapter.

Chapter 15 explores the future, beginning with the recent good news of lower overall crime rates and federal assistance for COPPS efforts and what each means for the future. Then we look at those forces that may influence COPPS in years to come: some indicators that are good, some that could conceivably be bad, those that are ugly. Included are a review of the rank-and-file officer and some relevant questions for COPPS in the future.

We believe that this book comprehensively lays out how COPPS is being embraced around the world. Perhaps one of the book's major strengths lies with its many case studies (more than 60 exhibits are scattered throughout the book, in addition to a large number of other examples), showing how the concept is planned and implemented, operationalized, and evaluated.

We are grateful for the helpful suggestions made by the followig reviewers of this chapter: James Albrecht, John Jay College of Criminal Justice; Francis Schreiner, Mansfield University; and Quint Thurman, Wichita State University.

Ken Peak
Ron Glensor

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