The police are usually charged with the great responsibility of ensuring that citizens are living quality lives that are free of crime and fear. In order to perform this duty effectively, the police need accurate and deeper knowledge of the citizens and issues they encounter in their daily lives. This knowledge will not be easy to come by if the police work independently from the citizens. Over the last several decades, police agencies have been working to gain the respect and the cooperation of the communities they serve. Community Oriented Policing was introduced to bring a closer working relationship between the citizens and the police.
Community Oriented Policing
Community Oriented Policing (COP) is a concept that involved offering personalized policing services that are closer to the people and that involve a proactive partnership with the citizens (Pontiac Police Department, 2008). This concept enables a closer collaboration between the police and citizens in identifying and solving problems. The focus of COP is not on responding to crime but is rather on preventing crimes and solving community problems. COP is based on the philosophy that, the police and citizens should partner and combine their efforts to solve contemporary challenges facing the society. The main aim of COP is to reduce the rate of crime and fear among communities. COP recognizes that community involvement in law enforcement issues is very vital in achieving significant progress in the fight against crime (Pontiac Police Department, 2008). Community participation provides the police with a new perspective of crime and means for controlling crimes. While without community participation, the police may remain fighting the handle of responding to crimes, cooperation with the citizens gives the police access to resources that enable them (the police) to expand their focus on crime. Through this cooperation, it is possible to modify the environments that promote criminal behaviors.
The concept of COP is almost similar to that of Problem Oriented Policing (POP) apart from a few differences. POP is a concept that involves critically examining pieces of community issues with the aim of learning something new from the problem identified that will lead to more effective strategies for dealing with crime (Zarka, 2007). POP is designed to identify and eliminate causes of reoccurring crime and disorder that harm the community. Just like COP, the main goals of POP are to reduce crime and maintain social order. POP replaces the traditional incident driven policing strategies and, therefore, gave rise to the concept of Community policing (Reno Police Department, 1992).
COP and POP designs involve a more open relationship between the citizens and the police with the aim of giving the police a more proactive role in community issues (Mirsky, 2009). Under community policing, police are empowered to engage citizens in providing solutions to community’s problems. COP...