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Research for Practice: Problem-Oriented Policing in Practice

NCJ Number
Date Published
27 pages
Publication Series
An examination of problem-oriented policing in San Diego, California is the focus of this report.
Problem-oriented policing (POP) is analytically and creatively demanding, and the scanning, analysis, response, and assessment process (SARA) for effectively implementing POP is exceedingly time consuming for police officers. POP is a way in which police officers can address causes of crime instead of symptoms, and have a greater impact in crime prevention. Maintaining that the San Diego Police Department has a strong commitment to POP, the authors administered a survey to police patrol divisions and the interviewed 320 patrol officers. Assessing the San Diego Police Department’s approach to POP, the authors found that these officers tended to tackle small-scale problems focusing on drug and disorder incidents and that most POP projects arose out of specific observations or complaints rather than from any elaborate screening methodology. Furthermore, officers in San Diego used POP to respond to drug, public order, and transient problems rather than using POP for traffic related, property crime, or personal crime problems. The authors note that, in San Diego, police officers engage in active problem solving tactics but do not employ the SARA model towards POP in a rigid and formal way. The authors suggest that formal POP is more challenging and demanding for police officers to conduct than is everyday problem solving techniques. A series of tables and figures presenting San Diego police officers’ problem-solving efforts are also included.

Date Published: January 1, 2002