“Community policing is, in essence, a collaboration between the police and the community that identifies and solves community problems” (U. S. Department of Justice, 1994, p. vii). Throughout the years, community policing has become a more popular strategy to help law enforcement officials control and deter crime; however, some areas across the United States has had problems in the past with communities and law enforcement working together to ensure a secure and safe environment.
Although it is an officer’s duty to maintain order, keep the peace, and solve problems within the area he or she is patrolling, it is also necessary for the people of the community to come together to help prevent crime. Everyone wants to feel safe in his or her place of dwelling and know that he or she has individuals who will serve and protect the area. Ergo, when problems occur between law enforcement and communities, the citizens develop a stigma against law officials and do not want to help solve or prevent criminal acts.
On the other side, when law enforcement officials develop a positive rapport with the community, the citizens are more likely to come forward to help solve crimes or problems that evolve within the neighborhood. Community policing is a necessary program to have within a community and many neighborhoods have adopted these programs. The Chicago Police Department is one city that knew a community-based program was a necessity to solve criminal problems within the neighborhoods of the city.
In 1993, the Chicago Police Department implemented the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy (CAPS), which is a community-based program that helps solves neighborhood crime problems with the collaboration of community members and law enforcement officials. According to Office of Justice Programs (n. d. ), “The program began in five policing districts but expanded to encompass the entire city of Chicago after a testing phase. Program development included the collaborative efforts of each district’s commanders, senior department executives, and ivilian planners” (para. 4). The underlying goal for CAPS is to solve problems within a community instead of reacting to their symptomatic consequences. This program has a five-step process for police officers to follow to ensure that the community and law enforcement agency works together to control crime.
For this program to work effectively, one must identify and prioritize the problem at hand, analyze the situation, organize a plan to handle the problem, implement a strategy, and evaluate the outcome (Office of Justice Programs, n. . ). If the outcome is not effective, changes are set in place to correct the mistake and move forward by working together as a team to solve future problems that may arise. Furthermore, the CAPS program has an assortment of tactics, which include officers who patrol the neighborhoods, community meetings that involve the residents and law enforcement officials, training programs for both parties, city services, and technology to help identify the criminal hot spots in the area (Chicago Police Department, 2008).
This program allows the officers to continue to patrol and handle their daily duties as well as work together with the community and other city officials to fight crime in one of the most notorious criminal cities in the United States. The Chicago Police Department works in teams for this program to be effective. One team will concentrate on the community and preventing crime, whereas the other team will handle the lower priority issues as well as respond to calls.
The program splits the law enforcement officials into teams, which are beat officers, rapid response officers, and other city agencies. The beat officers patrol a certain area for at least a year, which allows each officer to know the neighborhood as well as the residents. This allows the officers and the residents to form a bond with one another and build trust between both parties, which allows them to work together as a team to monitor, strategize, and solve problems within the community.
The rapid response officers assist the beat officers on emergency calls as well as back up the beat officers while they are in their community meetings. Undercover and gang officers help the beat officers on solving crimes and detaining suspects. With the collaboration between the law enforcement teams and the citizens the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy and proven to be a successful weapon to fight crime. In addition, the success that has come from the implementation of the Chicago Alternative Policing Strategy only hows that in the future it will become more successful.
This program has helped improve the residents’ confidence that the police are there to help combat crime, to ensure the community is a safe place to live as well as a reduction in major crimes. “Evaluations of the alternative policing strategy in Chicago show that from 1993 to 2002, the fear of crime went down by 20% among groups most fearful of crime and victimization” (University of Ottawa, n. d. , p. 1).
This is only one benefit that has come about from this program, so with the bond between law enforcement and residents of the communities becoming stronger daily, this program has a bright future on helping prevent and deter crime. Although many neighborhoods adopt community-policing programs, not all are successful in controlling crime. Some communities adopt these programs believing that it will evolve into a successful program were police and residents work together; however, not all programs are effective.
For a program to be successful, each party, such as law enforcement officials and residents must work collaboratively through the entire process, which is to identify, implement, and resolve the issues at hand (Chicago Police Department, 2008). Community-based programs are constantly developing throughout the nation and with communities, adopting programs like the Chicago Alternative Program Strategy, community policing has the potential to be successful in any city or state.