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In conclusion, I believe patrol is an effective use of resources in some cases. These studies show that directed patrols are effective in combating certain types of crime. In addition, regular patrol creates contacts between the public and the police officers, and helps officers come to know their patrol areas more intimately. However, normal police patrols are not shown to have a major affect on crime and criminal activity. Directed patrols that target hot spots in the city are much more effective and usually result in a reduction of crime and criminal activity in that hot spot. However, neither report discusses if crime resurged in these hot spots after directed patrol was lifted. If it did, directed patrol only has an immediate affect on crime, rather than creating a long-term reduction in crime. Therefore, directed police patrols probably must continue for long periods of time to have any long-term crime deterrent. Police patrols have their place in the modern police department, but they are not the only way to maintain law and order, and they are not the most effective way to deter many types of general crime.
McGarrell, Edmund F., Chermak, Stephen, Weiss, Alexander, and Wilson, Jeremy. Reducing Firearms Violence Through Directed Police Patrol. Indianapolis: Crime Control Policy Center, Hudson Institute, 2001. 119-148.
Weisburd, David, and Eck, John E. What Can Police Do to Reduce Crime, Disorder, and Fear?
The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science 2004; 593; 42-65..[continue]
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