This study seeks to strengthen the practice of policing by demonstrating the effectiveness of the problem-oriented policing. The information provided herein is useful to practitioners as it compares problem-oriented policing against community-oriented policing. Practitioners will be able to create much robust policing intervention when addressing real life situations within the field by grasping the theoretical mechanisms (Hess & Orthmann, 2011). In addition, by linking academic theories to policing, this review helps theoretical criminologists ponder about the most useful concepts for practical police level.
Zero tolerance Policing
Zero-tolerance policing lacks a specific definition; it can be understood in various ways. The recent definition entails non-discretional and strict enforcement of law regardless of the magnitude or circumstances of the crime. While this approach involves positive police actions, it does not equate to automatic arrests of trivial crimes. This is the most aggressive policing approach and cannot be equated to emerging approaches such as community-oriented and problem-oriented policing. This is because the former embrace a more humanistic and collaborative methodology in addressing crime issues (Wakefield & Fleming, 2008).
Unlike community and problem oriented strategies, zero tolerance is based on ruthlessness and aggression in tackling low-level criminality like raids. Police officers using this approach insist on quantitative statistical findings, which inevitably lead to manipulating the crime figures. This paper contends that zero tolerance policing puts more focus on temporary law enforcement such as conviction, arrest and I imprisonment. All these lead to a drastic population increase in prisons (Wakefield & Fleming, 2008). This approach places less emphasis on collaborating with other government agencies like education and communities, as well. Thus, the zero tolerance policing approach is a quick fix that is never effective in addressing the underlying causes of crime.
This model is often referred to as incident-driven policing. Under the problem oriented policing, departments aim to resolve individual incidents rather than to solve recurring problems of crime. Police officers focus on responding to recurrent calls and do not look for underlying situations that could have caused the problems such as groups of events. Police officers end up in frustration as they make seemingly no actual progress and respond to similar calls. On the other hand, citizens end up dissatisfied as the issues generating repeated calls continue to exist (Palmiotto, 2009). In response, experts proposed an alternative: they felt that police must extend further than responding to calls and more calls. They must look for solutions to repeated issues that generate recurring calls.
This strategy was described as problem-oriented approach and was envisioned as a department wide activity. This proposition appears to be straightforward and simple. Every repeated problem has underlying conditions creating it. These conditions cannot be addressed by incident-driven policing; thus, incidents are expected to recur. Responding to calls-for-service is viewed as a vital task and must be done but officers must be systematic in responding to recurring calls stemming from the same problem. For police departments to be more effective, they are required to collect information about incidents and develop a suitable response guided by the nature of the prevailing conditions causing the problems (Kappeler & Gaines, 2012).
Community Oriented Policing
Researchers conquer that there is no clear definition of community-oriented policing. In its most distinctive quality, COP defines a wide range of community problems, not just as crimes, but also as police problems. Community-oriented policing surfaced from crushing evidence in the 1980s and 1990s that relationships between police departments and urban communities were unstable at their best (Ikerd, 2007). For instance, in 1980, a set of researchers found that only 14% of police believed that the public had a positive attitude and feelings towards them. Therefore, some academics and practitioners continue to question the motives behind the development of community-oriented policing. From its words, COP seeks to enhance the efficacy of police by strengthening officer citizen relationships.
COP initiatives seek has a primary goal of creating a neighborhood environment, which is not necessarily free from problems but one with effective and active problem management. It achieves this goal through addressing major barriers to public safety: the associated trust and rapport between the community and police officers. Essentially, the initiatives of COP are developed to increase awareness, reduce fear, and furnish resources to residents of the community (Scott, 2010). Over time, strategies to achieve this have evolved from concentrated reforms in the police practices such as foot-patrols to a wide range of cultural changes. The most prominent culture reforms have been the creation of reciprocal associations between police departments and local churches. This evolution has been greatly reliant on the popularity of models of complementary policing as the core principles of COP.
Throughout 1980s to 1990s, community-oriented policing and problem-oriented policing were both acclaimed as revolutionary options for the professional policing model (Palmiotto, 2009). Since then, the two approaches have become political buzzwords, and scores of articles and books have been produced on these innovative strategic concepts. Essentially, the terms are alluded to as same strategy. Nevertheless, some people have maintained a sharp difference between the two.
Problem oriented policing is described as concentrating police attention on prevailing causes of problems of crime incidents. On the other hand, community oriented policing insists on joint efforts towards reducing crime and enhancing security. Without doubt, community oriented experts engage problem solving as a tool while problem oriented units form associations with the community (Do-lling, 2013).
Problem solving is a term conceptualized as what the officers do to handle minor, recurring problems and it is differentiated from problem oriented based on its lack of formal assessment and elementary analysis of problems. Some experts recommend that the concept of problem solving has failed to capture the essence of problem-oriented policing as envisioned by studies. Some researchers have been extremely cautious to avoid the term problem solving as many problems the police face tend to be complex for anything seeking a final solution; alleviating suffering, reducing harm and giving relief measures ambitious enough for the police (Scott, 2010).
For decades, the society has fallen prey to a drastic increase in drugs, crime, and gangs. Studies focusing on rapid response, preventive patrol, detectives, and crime prevention have criticized the usefulness of traditional policing approaches. These studies have estimated that most calls-for-services are concerned with life quality than crime. The myth that the primary function of the police is to combat crime and arrest evil doers is quickly fading. The studies coerced leaders of the police department to re-evaluate the strategies that had been ineffective (Scott, 2010). The tenets of problem oriented policing and community oriented policing has dominated literatures for decades. However, the application and terminology of these strategies were merely known until in the mid 1980s (Scott, 2010). Both problem-oriented and community-oriented policing models have been associated with three benefits:
I. Enhanced police service delivery
II. Enhanced community- police relations
III. Mutual solutions to identified problems
Community oriented, and problem oriented policing are commonly known as the most notable contribution to policing in the 21st century. In America, this has become the cutting edge of policing models today (Palmiotto, 2009). These strategies have replaced traditional strategies of policing that demonstrated minimal success. They integrate effectiveness with efficiency, encourage creativity, and promote quality over quantity approaches to problem solving. They enforce a bottom-up hierarchy whereby increased authority and discretion is accorded to the beat-cop to resolve neighborhood problems. These models gave birth to a new partnership between the community and the police to reduce fear, combat crime, improve life quality and maintain order in the society. Evidently, the policing models have assisted the police to perform the impossible job of doing more for less.
The most obvious criticism of these policing models relates to their basic strategies of service delivery. Previously, police officers responded to service calls as separate events. This was known as incident driven policing. It has been increasingly questioned for its reactive nature and its tendency to result in short-term solutions. Problem-oriented policing concentrates on teaching officer's ways to identify the underlying factors causing problems and ways to group incidents with the hope of providing long-term solutions. POP focuses on influencing environmental variables on crime (Ikerd, 2007). For example, previously, the response of police officers to a wide range of burglaries focused on apprehension. Consequently, various tactics of catching suspects were employed including plain-clothes surveillance and crime analysis.
Both models have been replicated across police agencies. These models have enhanced police knowledge by identifying problems, analyzing associated causal factors, developing appropriate responses and evaluating the results. They have continuously encouraged officers to be innovative and creative in their approaches. They have successfully developed interactive relationships between the public and the police departments, which combining resources in an attempt to combat problems independently. They act as operational strategies, which have replaced traditional practices. Therefore, they give life to the policing function. The relationship between problem oriented and community oriented is simply described in this statement; problem-oriented policing is walking the talk of community-oriented policing in the society (Do-lling,…