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Determinants of Citizen and Police Involvement in Community Policing, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
January 2002
143 pages
Publication Series
This document is the final report of a study designed to determine the factors that impact citizen and police officer involvement in community policing within the City of Boston.
Community policing has emerged as the dominant model for policing across the United States. Research has indicated that the majority of police agencies serving populations of at least 50,000 are either employing or planning to implement community policing programs. The success of community policing programs hinges on community involvement with police. Several problems may present themselves in this regard, including the fact that within certain communities there exists a mistrust of police or a fear of retaliation from criminals. Additionally, too often police programs designed to help problem communities are fleeting. In order to determine which factors affect citizen and police involvement with community policing programs, the authors surveyed 3,046 Boston residents and 1,383 police officers; they examined Boston police data regarding calls for service and arrests; and they examined local and Federal data on land-use, residential mobility, neighborhood poverty levels, single-parent families, and the availability of community-based organizations and recreational or educational facilities. Their findings revealed that the most significant determinant of community involvement with community policing activities were neighborhood attachment and positive attitudes toward the police. However, they did find notable racial distinctions in these factors. Factors that affected police officer involvement with community policing programs included knowledge of community policing, supervisor abilities, and rank. In conclusion, the authors note that since the community policing program in Boston has been active, serious crime rates have declined, citizen attitudes toward police and satisfaction with policing efforts have improved, and citizen fear of crime has declined. However, this research has presented relevant issues concerning community involvement with policing efforts that deserve serious consideration by policing agencies around the country. References, appendices

Date Published: January 1, 2002