What Is Community Policing?

Community policing is a type of law enforcement system and philosophy that combines traditional methods with problem-solving techniques that involve community cooperation and partnerships, according to TheFreeDictionary by Farlex. One of its main objectives is to avoid alienation of law enforcement personnel from members of the community.

Another goal of community policing programs is to build lasting relationships between police and community members to solve and prevent criminal activity, explains TheFreeDictionary. As opposed to more traditional law enforcement methods, in which police respond to crime and arrest criminals, community policing involves working with civilians to develop and sustain programs that help prevent crimes. This is accomplished through such techniques as regular foot, bike and horse patrols. The focus is as much on crime prevention as in responding to criminal activity.

One of the obstacles of community policing-inspired programs such as neighborhood watches is the communities most in need of them find them harder to develop and maintain, states TheFreeDictionary. These are often low-income communities where the residents generally have to work two or more jobs and have little time for such volunteer efforts. Such volunteers also need to be trained properly, which requires even more of their time. A community policing strategy best works when establishing meaningful programs that make community members eager to be involved.