Rethinking the Role of Community Policing: Developing a More Ambitious Integrated Strategy to Equitably Reduce Crime, Build Social Capital, and Foster Socioeconomic Development

Nathan W. Pino, Georgia Southern University

Community policing (COP) implementation has not reached its full potential. COP is usually not practiced according to its rhetoric, and the rhetoric of COP can be used to mask traditional approaches that may be overly aggressive and threaten civil liberties. COP is also marred by inequitable outcomes and unequal participation. The purpose of this paper is to rethink the role COP plays in crime reduction and order restoration beyond its almost total focus on crime prevention strategies. It is argued that theorized structural causes of crime and disorder (rather than just symptoms) must be dealt with if we want to democratically and permanently reduce crime while maintaining civil liberties and promoting equity. Locally constructed civic strategies that attempt to reduce rime and social disorganization, build social capital, and foster socioeconomic development are needed in order to achievve these goals. COP would only be one part of this strategy.

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Updated 05/20/2006