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Measuring Police-Community Coproduction: The Utility of Community Policing Case Studies

NCJ Number
Police Quarterly Volume: 6 Issue: 4 Dated: December 2003 Pages: 410-439
Date Published
December 2003
30 pages

This study explored the reliability and validity of conclusions drawn from case study research on the nature of interactions between the police and community groups.


Overall, the findings indicate that there is utility in using the case study approach to examine police-community interactions. Specific conclusions are that case studies serve as a good source of information about the presence or absence of specific types of police-community interactions and about the dispersion of those interactions in a specific neighborhood. Case study research is less valuable for providing data about fluctuations in police-community interactions over time. The findings suggest cautious optimism about the future use of case study research on community policing dynamics. Research methodology involved the use of a measurement protocol to systematically measure police-community interactions using case study narratives as the raw data. The protocol measured five broad areas of police-community interaction: (1) steps to identify with neighborhoods; (2) steps to improve neighborhoods; (3) steps to encourage resident efforts; (4) steps for resident participation; and (5) steps in coordination of organizations. The protocol was applied to 8 case studies, selected from a larger sample of roughly 30 case studies on community policing published between 1982 and 1997. The unit of analysis in all eight case studies under examination was interactions at the neighborhood level. While the findings indicated the utility of case study approaches for gaining certain types of information, other types of research will be necessary to explore the impact of community policing on communities over time. Tables, notes, references

Date Published: December 1, 2003