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Defining Police Strategies: Problem Solving, Problem-Oriented Policing and Community-Oriented Policing (From Problem-Oriented Policing: Crime-Specific Problems Critical Issues and Making POP Work, P 315-329, 1998, T. O'Connor Shelley and A.C. Grant, eds.)

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 1998
15 pages
This paper uses the four stages of the SARA (scanning, analysis, response, and assessment) model of problem-solving to identify ways in which the current practice falls short and offer recommendations for how it might be used appropriately.
During the scanning stage, officers often fail to specify the problems they are addressing. Either they undertake a project that is too small to fit the definition of problem-oriented policing but that satisfies the criteria for problem-solving; or they address a problem with a response that is too ambitious and broad in its objectives and that more closely relates to the definition of community-oriented policing. Officers who are using the SARA model of problem-oriented policing often skip the "analysis" phase or conduct an analysis that is too rudimentary. Often the "responses" in current problem-oriented policing projects are variations of conventional police practices (e.g., crackdowns, surveillance, and arrests). "Assessment" is one of the most crucial yet underused parts of problem-oriented policing projects. Assessment is the key to facilitating an active exchange of experiences among different departments. The most important requirement for improving problem-oriented policing is for police departments to improve their research and analysis units. The second most important requirement is for officers involved in problem-oriented policing to become more familiar with the field of environmental criminology, particularly the work on situational crime prevention. 1 table, a 14-item bibliography

Date Published: January 1, 1998