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Community Policing and Problem Solving / Edition 4

Community Policing and Problem Solving / Edition 4


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Community Policing and Problem Solving / Edition 4

This fourth edition of Community Policing and Problem Solving: Strategies and Practices analyzes community-oriented policing and problem solving (COPPS) from an applied perspective. To do so—and continuing to distinguish this book from others—it showcases more than 50 exhibits (and provides dozens of additional case studies and examples) of problem solving in the field.

While providing updated information about crime in the United States, with particular emphasis placed on terrorism, new sections have also been added concerning rave parties, school bullying, street racing, burglar alarms, and 911 calls. Also newly addressed are adult- and problem-based learning. Chapter sections on such major problems as racial profiling and hate crimes have also been updated, and the chapter on the future has received a major revision.

COPPS is now in its third generation (as discussed in Chapter 1), enjoying widespread public acceptance and the attention of academicians who are publishing widely on the topic. While there is still some "devil's advocate" dialogue about COPPS (see Chapter 11), this fourth edition assumes that COPPS has "arrived" and applies this strategy to the real world with its thorough presentation of problems and solutions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780131132689
Publisher: Pearson
Publication date: 04/07/2004
Edition description: Older Edition
Pages: 327
Product dimensions: 8.26(w) x 10.28(h) x 0.72(d)

Table of Contents

 1. The Evolution of Policing: Past Wisdom and Future Directions.

 2. A Nation in Flux: Changing People, Crime, and Policing.

 3. Attending to the “Customer”: Community Oriented Government.

 4. Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving: “COPPS.”

 5. Crime Prevention: For Safe Communities.

 6. Planning and Implementation: Translating Ideas Into Action.

 7. From Recruit to Chief: Changing the Agency Culture.

 8. Training for COPPS: Approaches and Challenges.

 9. Police in a Diverse Society.

10. New Strategies for Old Problems: COPPS on the Beat.

11. The “Devil's Advocate”: Addressing Concerns with COPPS.

12. Evaluating COPPS Initiatives.

13. Selected American Approaches.

14. In Foreign Venues: COPPS Abroad.

15. Looking Forward While Looking Back: The Future.

Appendix A: Award-winning Problem Solving Case Studies.

Appendix B: A Community Survey in Fort Collins, Colorado.

Appendix C: A Strategic Plan Survey in Portland, Oregon.



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 societal changes such as homeland defense. This policing style also allows agencies to make the necessary organizational and administrative adjustments to maintain a capable and motivated workforce.

The book is grounded on the assumption that the reader is most likely an undergraduate or graduate student studying criminal justice or policing. Or, perhaps 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 is interested in learning about community policing and problem solving. Citizens who are collaborating with police to resolve neighborhood problems in innovative ways can also be served well by reading this book.

This fourth edition also imparts some of the major underpinnings, prominent names, theories, practices (with myriad examples), and processes that are being implemented under COPPS to control and prevent crime, disorder, and fear. A considerable 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 thephilosophy into daily practice. The application of community policing is the primary focus of this book, as indicated in its title.

While some fundamental components of COPPS contribute to its success, no one single model of COPPS exists—there is no cookie-cutter approach that can guarantee success. 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. 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, teaching them to expand their focus on offenders to include crime settings and victims. Such an approach presents great challenges for those patrol officers who are engaged in analytical work.

Given the extent to which COPPS has evolved since the publication of our third edition, the authors understand the challenges involved with writing this text. Like its three predecessors, this fourth 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 to ignore or discard 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 are learning to address public safety more successfully.

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. Merely creating a "crime prevention specialist" position, putting an officer on foot or bicycle patrol, or anticipating the receipt of federal dollars does not equate with implementing COPPS. Such activities not only misrepresent the true potential and functions of COPPS but also set unrealistically simplistic goals and expectations for its work.

This book describes how many agencies should, and are, quietly going about the process of revolutionizing their philosophy and operations.

Organization and Content of the Book

Like its three predecessors, this book is distinguished by its applied approach. In doing so, it showcases more than 50 exhibits and provides dozens of additional case studies and examples of problem solving in the field.

While providing updated information about crime in the United States, with particular emphasis placed on terrorism, new sections have also been added concerning rave parties, school bullying, street racing, burglar alarms, and 911 calls. Also newly addressed are adult- and problem-based learning. Chapter sections on such major problems as racial profiling and hate crimes have also been updated, and the chapter on the future has received a major revision.

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. We will also examine the elevated importance of COPPS in this time of terrorism and homeland defense.

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. These variables—people and crime—are the reason and justification for COPPS.

Chapter 3 explores collaborative partnerships, and 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.

As indicated above, the foundation of the book is Chapter 4, which includes separate discussions of the 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. The chapter concludes by delineating what approaches work and what approaches do not appear to be successful for crime prevention.

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 (CPTED) 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.

In Chapter 7 we recognize that police agencies have a life and culture of their own and address how police agencies must modify their culture from top to bottom in order to fully embrace COPPS. The separate roles and responsibilities of chief executives, middle managers, and rank-and-file officers are included, as are some case studies of agencies that have modified their culture for adopting the COPPS approach. We also stress the importance of developing a learning organization for facilitating the change process more smoothly.

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. We also discuss how adult and problem-based learning techniques are being infused into these training programs, which focus on problem solving.

Chapter 9 examines the history of relations between the minorities and the police, and how COPPS can enhance those relations. Included are discussions of bias-based policing and racial profiling, 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 violations, gangs, special populations (the mentally ill, the homeless, and those addicted to alcohol), domestic violence, school violence, rental-property and neighborhood disorder, prostitution, traffic problems, and others. Exhibits and case studies are included throughout this chapter and demonstrate the power of collaborative partnerships and problem solving.

Some writers have raised concerns and criticisms of COPPS. 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.

Although 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 accurately measured. Chapter 12 confronts the issue of evaluation, beginning with the rationale for evaluating COPPS and social interventions generally, and then reviewing 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 population). 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, and other selected locations (Scotland, Israel, Hong Kong, New Zealand, the Isle of Man, and the Netherlands). Other venues are also discussed in chapter exhibits.

Chapter 15 explores the future, with a look at those forces that may influence COPPS in years to come; highlighted are homeland defense, technology, and the role of the rank-and-file police officer.

An Appendix includes several award-winning case studies of excellent problem solving, and examples of a community survey and a strategic plan.

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 and a large number of other examples, which demonstrate how the concept is planned and implemented, operationalized, and evaluated.

We are grateful for the helpful suggestions made by the following reviewers of this book: Alex del Carmen, University of Texas-Arlington; Steven Egger, University of Houston-Clearlake; David Graff, Kent State University-Tuscarawas; William Parks, University of South Carolina-Spartanburg; and Bruce Smith, Ohio University-Chillicothe.

Ken Peak
Ron Glensor

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