What Is the Difference Between Reactive and Proactive Policing?

Reactive policing, also known as traditional policing, is the standard style of law enforcement in which authorities respond to calls of service and react to criminal incidents. Proactive policing is the newer concept of policing that enlists the practice of preventing crimes before they happen.

Reactive policing is more of a separate and isolated form of law enforcement than proactive policing. In reactive policing, police officers patrol and wait to spot a crime in the area so that they can remedy it. Reactive policing also requires an officer to react to a call for help in his vicinity. In reactive policing, an officer does not act unless a crime is already occurring.

Proactive policing requires the use of more than a solitary law enforcement unit. Proactive policing requires the police to work with community groups to become informed of issues that should be remedied before a crime occurs. Proactive policing deals with community issues and addresses the concerns of people involved in a setting every day to become aware of smaller incidents or disorder that could lead to criminal activity. Both types of policing methods are used in law enforcement, with continuous efforts given to hone the newer proactive policing method.