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Police “Crackdowns” Police crackdowns form part of strategic-oriented policing. This method of policing has also been called maintenance policing, broken windows policing and zero-tolerance policing. The concept of police crackdowns is to lower crime in a specific area through the use of police presence. These crackdowns have been shown to work only for short periods of time due to because they do not target the cause of the problem. However, the implementation of these programs help the community figure out new ways to fight crime. 

Strategic-oriented policing is the motivation for all of the community policing programs (p.71). Police crackdowns implement tactics to deter a high crime area. The implementation of police force then brings the neighborhood together to figure out the root of the problem. When the neighborhood becomes aware of the problems, they begin to come up with solutions and share those with the police. The police then becomes involved in the neighborhood’s plan and community policing begins. There are 3 problems with the implementation of police crackdowns: the short duration effect, the direct effect on the community’s and the effect on the community’s perception of community policing (p.66).

The short duration of the deterrence of crime is due to the police only targeting the crime. In a New York study, where police crackdowns where implemented city wide, the crime rates went down significantly but begin to rise after short periods of time (p.66). Police presence can definitely slow down criminals, but only for a while. Once the police leaves, or criminals figure out a way around the police, crime rates will return back to normal.

The community also gets affected by police crackdowns. The neighborhood becomes a target to the police and the life of the residents also gets affected. Waking up to a large number of police units in your neighborhood certainly can shake up someone’s daily routine. Also, not knowing what the police is after can make people paranoid. People do not like sudden changes, going from almost zero police presence to cop’s city can definitely be a shock to people.

Another problem on police crackdowns is the effect that it can have on the community’s attitude towards the police (p.67). Many minority communities feel directly targeted by the police and consequently stop trusting them. This issue arises due to the lack of communication from the police to the community. While crackdowns are an effective way of crime deterrence, they can create fear because not everyone knows how police crackdowns work. In fact, the majority of people have no idea what a police crackdown is. Educating the community about the importance of police crackdowns can significantly reduce the fear in the communities. 

Crackdowns are a good way to deter crime and get the community involved. Once the community gets involved in creating a long term solution for crime then community policing begins. Crackdowns promote Problem-Oriented Policing methodology, which is fundamentally a strategy for analyzing community problems and that part of the solution to them will be given by the context (p.71). The actual crackdowns are not the solution to crime, but rather promote a change in mentality. This tactic is often used by police commanders because it require proactive police officers with analytical skills and a strategic view of police work.

It is important to mention that the police has been evolving through the years and the use of different policing styles has helped them identify what works and what doesn’t. The use of various techniques such as police crackdowns has contributed to obtaining knowledge necessary to apply into creating new police initiatives. Different police methods such as NeighborhoodOriented Policing have been created and have shown to be much more effective (p.75). 

Neighborhood-Oriented Policing combines different approaches to reduce crime and promote the community’s participation into crime reduction programs (p.73). This policing style, in my opinion, is more effective because it creates a bond with the community and it helps the police identify problems and solutions even faster. The general objective of this police style is to act against criminal behavior early in order to provide citizens with a surveillance service, and promote joint action with the members of the community through management in solving security and coexistence problems. 

Finally, it should be noted that talking about social prevention of violence and crime is talking about processes of transformation and individual, family and community strengthening, which allow peaceful coexistence, improved security conditions and a better quality of life. The active participation of police, academic institutions, the media and, especially, citizenship is of utmost importance for success.

Oliver, M. (2007) Community-oriented policing: A Systemic approach to policing. (4th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.

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