What Is Reactive Policing?

Reactive policing is a way of responding to citizens' needs for law enforcement rather than anticipating them. Traditional police forces use a form of reactive policing in respect to the fact that citizens must contact law enforcement with concerns or requests, and law enforcement officials then respond to those concerns or requests.

As of 2014, there is significant support among the law enforcement community for reactive policing because it has traditionally been successful, but there is growing support among law enforcement officials for preventing crime before it happens. This is done by using crime data to determine areas that are at the highest risk of crime and then assigning police patrols based on that data. More community involvement is also a form of proactive policing that has had success. There are concerns, however, that proactive policing may lead to profiling, particularly in communities that are more economically depressed. The New York City Police Department (NYPD) has faced scrutiny with what has been called it's "controversial" proactive policing policy that allows officers to randomly stop and frisk people on the streets. The NYPD defends its proactive policing policies, citing data that revealed lower crime statistics as proof that proactive policing can work.