Community Policing and Crime: A National Assessment of the Effects of COPS Grants on Crime

Jihong Zhao, University of Nebraska at Omaha
Matthew C. Scheider, U.S. Department of Justice
Quint Thurman, Southwest Texas State University

Community oriented policing (COP) has become the dominant philosophy behind contemporary police innovations designed to reduce crime in the United States. Since the mid-1990s, COP has enjoyed widespread acceptance and adoption by law enforcement agencies. Coincidentally, national crime data indicate that crime rates, particularly for violent crimes, have decreased significantly during this same period. The implementation of federal COP programs through the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) may have played an important role in producing this crime reduction. COPS efforts partially involve the addition of 100,000 community oriented police officers and the implementation of programs designed to encourage the COP philosophy nation wide. This research uses a multi-wave panel modeling technique to analyze four sources of existing data: Census, LEMAS, UCR and COPS office data. Approximately 8,000 jurisdictions that received COPS funding between 1994 and 1999 are examined. The impact additional police officers and other specific COPS programs have on crime reduction while controlling for a variety of demographic and regional effects is examined.

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Updated 05/20/2006