Thus, police patrols that are directed to specific areas for specific purposes are often more effective than general police patrols.
Both of these articles do reach the same basic conclusions. They study many different types of police patrols and community policing, and discover that generally, common police patrols are not that effective in reducing and maintaining reduced crime levels. However, directed or hot spots police patrols, that are geared specifically toward cracking down on one area of crime, such as gun violence, are effective at reducing crime and altering crime rates for a specific target area. The authors cite different studies, but both cite studies from the past to help lead them to their conclusions. While they use different studies and methods, it is interesting to note that their conclusions are so similar. Police patrols may deter crime in specific areas, and increased police patrols help bring down crime statistics sometimes, but for the best results, police patrols must target a specific criminal activity and then be solely dedicated to a specific area of a city or town. The authors conclude, "Studies that focused police resources on crime hot spots provide the strongest collective evidence of police effectiveness that is now available" (Weisburd and Eck). Both articles show that standard policing methods are now outdated, and new, community oriented policing tactics work more effectively in most policing situations. Both articles also imply that police departments must be flexible and willing to change with the times, rather than simply maintaining police patrols due to historic effectiveness or tradition. The studies show this focus is not as effective as other forms of police patrols, and departments must learn from studies like these to create new and different solutions to the crime problem.
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?