Implementation of Patrol Beat Teams to Reduce Crime: Concept Paper
Although they can complement each other, there is a difference between community policing and problem-oriented policing. Whereas the Casa Grande Police Department embraces community policing through various programs facilitated by a Community Policing Officer and a Volunteer Coordinator, they have yet to adopt a true form of problem-oriented policing. Community policing emphasizes partnerships between the police and the community whereby neighborhood public safety concerns can be communicated and addressed. Problem-oriented policing is built on data analysis and evaluation of issues through the SARA Model, which stands for Scanning, Analysis, Response, and Assessment (Reisig, 2010).
A Beat Team program will unify all patrol officers who work a common beat, even though they work different days and hours during the week. Each patrol sergeant will be assigned to a team to ensure they meet, provide resources, and to act as liaison between officers and administrators. Officers will rotate once per year so relationships can be established and problem solving can occur. The teams will meet once a month to share information, discuss crime related issues, and problem solve. The meetings will be open to citizens and information regarding the teams and their meetings will be communicated to the community via officer contacts and social media.
According to the Casa Grande Police Departments Crime Analyst, Cynthia Irby, certain crimes are on the rise in the city. Aggravated assaults are up 32.2% over last year, burglaries are up 19.9%, and vehicle thefts are up 32.1% (C. Irby, personal communication, September 11, 2019). Beat Teams provide a problem oriented approach that will elevate current community policing efforts, produce the autonomy officers need to solve problems, foster greater internal/external communication, and reduce crime.
Opportunity plays a significant role in the facilitation of crime. Those predisposed to commit crime will do so more frequently if the opportunities are present.. Repeatedly connecting with these opportunities can propel these individuals to look for even more crime opportunities (Clarke, 2012). Increased opportunities lead to increased crime and the easier the opportunities are, the more likely offenders will lead a life of crime. An abundance of criminal opportunities can even prompt non-offenders to engage in criminal acts (Clarke, 2012).
This program recognizes the effect opportunity has on crime and is designed to reduce crime through opportunity theory – specifically, Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED). This approach can be highly effective, however, it must be administered with issues specific to that beat in mind (Clarke, 2009). Design changes such as lighting, accessibility, surveillance, and structure are examples of some ways opportunities can be reduced. In these efforts, it is critical for teams to consider practicality, sustainability, and the opinions of residents through consultation. An intelligent approach by way of careful planning can effectively reduce crime (Clarke, 2009).
Enhanced collaboration and communication through this program will enable officers and citizens to acquire the kind of communication and partnership needed to affect positive change and achieve the desired result – a planned reduction in crime tailored to specific geographical areas.
Clarke, R.V. (2012). Opportunity makes the thief. Really? And so what? Retrieved from:
Clarke, R.V. (2009). The theory of crime prevention through environmental design. Retrieved from: be13d5.pdf
Reisig, M. D. (2010). Community and problem-oriented policing. Crime and Justice, 39(1), 1- 53. DOI: 10.1086/652384